Publishe Date: 1:30 PM - 2/15/2015 | Print

Deputy FM: Iran Main Cause of US Withdrawal from Iraq

Politics - Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian confirmed on Sunday that the Iraqi government decided not to extend the US military forces presence in the country after taking advice from Tehran.

"At present in the talks that we have with certain western and regional states at the diplomatic levels, they tell us that Americans are upset that the Iraqis came to disagree with extending the US military deployment after recommendations from the Islamic Republic of Iran," Amir Abdollahian said in an interview on Sunday.

"Of course, we declare explicitly that this is true," he stressed, indicating that Iran was the cause of Baghdad's opposition to the extension of the US military presence in Iraq.

Amir Abdollahian said Iran had warned officials and influential figures at different levels in Iraq that continued presence of 170,000 US military forces in the country was against Iraq's independence and territorial integrity and prevented reconstruction efforts.

He also revealed that Iran's military advisors arrived in Iraq only 6 hours after Mosul was surrounded by the ISIL terrorists in 2014, rejecting western allegations that Iran's military advisors had been sent after two days.

Many Iraqi officials and political figures have hailed Iran's influential role and assistance to Baghdad in fighting the ISIL.

In relevant remarks late January, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi lauded Iran's assistance to his country in fighting terrorism, describing Tehran as a reliable military partner.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, al-Abadi said that while the West was slow to deliver help to Iraq, Iran was filling the gap.

"I have received quite sizeable (amounts of) ammunition free of charge. And we have been promised deferred payments on some arms sales to Iraq," he added.

"They (Iranians) have been prompt in sending us arms and ammunition without even asking for immediate payments," he said in comments likely to be noted in Washington, which worries about the extent of Iranian influence over its neighbor.

Abadi made a special mention of Commander of Iran's Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani as an ally against the ISIL.

"We have respect for him and the Iranian establishment," he said when asked about the role Major General Soleimani played in the fight against the ISIL.

Al-Abadi further underlined that no Iranian soldier was or had been present on Iraqi soil.

In November, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Brigadier General Esmayeel Qa'ani said Baghdad remained untouched by ISIL terrorist group due to Iran's support and assistance.

"The ISIL terrorists sought to surround Baghdad but they failed in reaching their ominous goals thanks to Iran's supports," Qa'ani said in North Khorassan province.

Noting that the ISIL terrorists had been left with no more command center and were searching for new shelters, he said ISIL was becoming weaker and weaker day by day and was being annihilated.

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