The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has issued a statement criticizing the United States for dictating how the country should deal with neighboring Iran, saying the move was a form of interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.
In a tweet late on Saturday, the Ministry said a US statement earlier in the week in which it had called on Iran to allow the demobilization of militia forces in Iraq was an act of interference in Iraq’s internal issues.
“Iraq refuses to interfere in the internal issues, especially the issues of internal security reform and the status of Iraqi security forces under the authority of the PM and general commander of the armed forces,” read a post on Ministry’s Twitter page.
The US embassy in Baghdad said on Tuesday that one of the requirements for Iran to avoid unilateral US sanctions was to “respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration” of popular militia forces that have been battling terrorists across Iraq over the past years. The statement was in line with previous US allegations that Iran was controlling some of the militia forces in Iraq. Both Iran and Iraq have denied the accusations, saying the forces enjoy huge public support as they have been formed based on decrees by religious leaders.
Hashd al-Sha’abi paramilitary forces amass on Iraq’s border with Syria in the wake of a bloody Daesh attack, as millions of Muslims take part in the world’s greatest pilgrimage.
The Iraqi foreign ministry reiterated the US embassy statement went well beyond diplomatic norms, adding that Baghdad expected the embassy to remove the post from its Twitter page.
“Iraq looks forward to erase the statement by the US Embassy and to avoid issuing such statements in the future and to observe the rules of international law governing the embassy work in Iraq,” said the ministry.
After a decision in May to withdraw from a 2015 international agreement on Iran’s nuclear activities, Washington re-imposed a series of sanctions on Iran that had been lifted as part of the deal. Iraq expects to be exempted from the sanctions as it relies on Iran for its energy imports and other crucial supplies. Iraqi officials have indicated that they could not respect the sanctions as they could harm the economy and security of the Arab country.