Iraq ‘will not stand idle’ if US steps up anti-Iran campaign: Influential Iraqi figure
Iraqi Shia cleric and leader of the National Wisdom Movement, Ammar al-Hakim, has warned that the country will “not stand idle” as Washington’s unabashedly aggressive and hawkish policies against Tehran risk jeopardizing Iraq.
“We have to protect Iraq from any potential fallouts of this conflict because when the call for war is made, reason and logic is forgotten,” said al-Hakim.
The US has recently announced military deployments in the region in a bid to counter “threats from Iran”.
“The United States’ push to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero signals a transition from a policy of pressure to a policy of suffocating Iran, its government and people. This move will have very dangerous and tragic implications for the region, specifically Iraq,” he added.
Al-Hakim further urged the Iraqi government to adopt what he described as a responsible position to prevent a “tragedy” and act as mediator between the two countries.
The comments come after the US announced earlier this week that the it was deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the West Asia in a bid to send a “message” to Iran.
On Friday, the Pentagon announced that it will further reinforce its West Asia deployment with an amphibious assault ship and a Patriot missile battery further counter the “Iranian threat”.
Iranian officials have, however, dismissed the provocations as being part of the Trump administration's "psychological warfare" against the country.
Addressing Washington’s recently heightened rhetoric, Commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Forces Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari has said that "no danger" threatens the country.
He said Iran’s adversaries know that any move against the country will result in a swift response.
Also last week, al-Hakim strongly rejected any use of the country’s territory “for aggression against other states”.
Al-Hakim made the remarks in a meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield in Iraq.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has also slammed Washington’s moves.
“The use of coercive measures and threats against our neighboring country Iran is a clear violation of international law,” said Maliki, adding that the US was seeking to challenge a “resilient Muslim nation”.
The former prime minister added that Washington’s provocations also risked destabilizing Iraq, noting that the country was still recovering from the Daesh menace.