US Armed Forces presence in region detrimental to security, stability: President Rouhani
President Hassan Rouhani has warned against the adverse consequences of the United States’ military presence in the region, saying all regional countries are duty-bound to expel the US.
According to Press TV, in a meeting with the visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein in Tehran on Saturday, Rouhani added that the Islamic Republic has always expressed its political stance on regional issues in an explicit and clear way.
“We regard the presence of the US Armed Forces in the region whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or the southern Persian Gulf littoral states as detrimental to regional security and stability,” the Iranian president stated.
Stressing that every single country, where the United States has deployed forces, needed to help expel American forces from the region, Rouhani commended as a “positive step” a bill approved by Iraqi lawmakers that demands expulsion of US forces from the Arab country, adding that Iran backed the move.
Iraqi lawmakers in January unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the US assassination of Iran's top military Commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and the Second-in-Command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
The legislators used an extraordinary parliamentary session to vote on a resolution requiring the government to press Washington and its allies to withdraw their troops from Iraq.
US terrorists assassinated Lt. General Soleimani, the Commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), along with Muhandis and their companions by targeting their vehicle outside Baghdad International Airport on January 3.
The cowardly act of terror was carried out under the direction of US President Donald Trump, with the Pentagon taking responsibility for the strike.
Elsewhere in the meeting, Rouhani said Iran has never sought and would never seek to interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs, adding, “We have always believed that the Iraqi groups should have good relations in order to help protect and develop their country.”
He stressed the importance of forging unity among different religious groups in Iraq and expressed Iran’s readiness to stand by the Iraqi government and nation to help boost unity and coherence in the Arab country.
The Iranian president also urged Tehran and Baghdad to further strengthen relations in various political, cultural and economic fields and to accelerate the implementation of the agreements already signed between the two sides.
The Iraqi foreign minister, for his part, hailed Iran’s support for his country at different junctures.
Hussein, who is in Tehran on an official two-day visit, said the expansion of mutual relations and the implementation of agreements, particularly in the fields of border cooperation and transportation, and enhanced trade ties through Arvand River are among main issues on his trip’s agenda.
He noted that the Iraqi prime minister has instructed the formation of a special committee to hold negotiations about ways to implement bilateral agreements and said members of the committee would travel to Tehran within the next weeks.