Iraq says US will need to seek permission to station troops to ‘watch Iran’

Baghdad: Iraqi President Barham Salih on Monday said that Washington needs to seek permission before prioritising its own plans, in response to United States President Donald Trump’s comment on stationing armed forces in Iraq to keep a “close watch on Iran”.

“Don’t overburden Iraq with your own issues,” Salih told the media, while adding, “The US is a major power … but do not pursue your own policy priorities, we live here.”

“It is of fundamental interest for Iraq to have good relations with Iran” Salih noted, Al Jazeera reported.

During an interview with the CBS News on Sunday, ahead of the Super Bowl, Trump noted, “Well, we spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it. And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem.”

“We’re going to keep watching and we’re going to keep seeing and if there’s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we’re going to know it before they do,” he added.

Salih, while addressing a forum in Baghdad, said the US armed forces were stationed in the country as part of an agreement between the two countries with an aim to erase terrorism from the region.

Trump informed CBS News that the withdrawal of troops has been initiated from the region, with only around 2,000 troops remaining in Syria, who are further engaged in pushing out the “final remainder of the caliphate.”

While paying a visit to the US forces in Iraq, last year in December, Trump had announced his plans of withdrawing troops from Syria, as well as from Afghanistan.