Iraq Refuses to Allow the US to Attack Iran From Its Territory

(MEMO— Baghdad’s ambassador to Russia told reporters today that Iraq will not allow the US to use its territory for military operations against Iran.

“Iraq is a sovereign nation. We will not let [the US] use our territory,” Haidar Mansour Hadi, the Iraqi envoy said during a press conference when asked about his country’s position on the escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington.

He said that Baghdad would use its position to act as a mediator and that his country “does not want a new devastating war in the region.” He added that he hoped “nothing will happen.”

Hadi’s comments come during a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East. Yesterday, the US withdrew many of its diplomats from the consulate in Erbil and the embassy in Baghdad, citing fears of an attack.

“The last two days there have been continuous meetings with all the groups to convey the Iraqi government’s message that if anyone does something, it is their responsibility, not Iraq’s,” said Sayed Al-Jayashi, a senior member of Iraq’s National Security Council.

“The Iraqi government is responsible for protecting American interests in Iraq.”

“We will become the enemy of anyone who does something against American interests,” he added.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, visited Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi last week to discuss security concerns which have resulted from increasing US-Iran tensions.

Tehran and Washington have been involved in a war of words since Trump decided to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal which sought to limit Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon. In November 2018, the US re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic, affecting the economy and causing internal political difficulties.

These US actions have been met with defiance from Iranian leaders.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said yesterday during a diplomatic visit to Tokyo that Iran is exercising “maximum restraint”, after the US pulled out of the deal.

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