Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called for the end of the US’ presence in Syria and Iraq.
“The Americans must leave Iraq, which is the will of the Iraqis and their law,” Xinhhua news agency quoted the top leader as saying in a televised address on Thursday.
By “the Iraqis’ law”, Khamenei was referring to a resolution passed on January 5, 2020, by the country’s Parliament requiring the Baghdad government to end the presence of foreign forces.
The resolution was passed two days after Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, were killed in an American drone strike near the Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.
On the other hand, Khamenei slammed the criticism of Iranian presence in Syria, Iraq and other countries in West Asia.
He arguing that, contrary to the US, the Iranian presence is not military but “political, and wherever it is “indeed military, it has an advisory role”.
Khamenei went on to say that either in Syria and Iraq, Iran’s presence seeks to “defend the legitimate governments in place, at the request of those governments”.
US critics, he further noted, “magnify” Iran’s regional presence, and at the same time Washington “attack a country without permission and establish a military base”.
A few thousand US troops are leading international coalition forces tasked with helping the Iraqi security forces in the fight against the Islamic State by carrying out airstrikes against the terror group’s positions in Iraq and Syria.
The American troops also provide military equipment and training to Iraqi forces.