Iraqi Shia cleric and leader of the National Wisdom Movement, Sayyed 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 Sayyed 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,” Hakim said.
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 Middle East in a bid to send a “message” to Iran.
On Friday, the Pentagon announced that it will further reinforce its Middle East 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 said on Friday “no danger” threatens the country.
He said Iran’s adversaries know that any move against the country will result in a swift response.
Washington’s recent measures against Iran have, nonetheless, prompted concern among Iraqi officials, whose country still faces an ongoing US military presence.
Trump has in the past described the US’ mission in Iraq as a bid to “watch Iran”, drawing the condemnation of Iraqi figures from across the country’s varying political landscape.
Last week, Hakim strongly rejected any use of the country’s territory “for aggression against other states”. He made the remarks in a meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield in Iraq.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also slammed Washington’s moves on Friday.
“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.
Hassan Salim, an Iraqi lawmaker and member of the al-Bana coalition in the parliament, said an American attack on Iran will lead to the fall of Washington’s international standing and will hasten “the dissolution of the Zionist regime”.
He said that such an aggression was equivalent to an attack on all Muslim countries, “regardless of the hostile positions held by some Arabic and Muslim states against Iran”.
Iran has greatly assisted its regional neighbors in their fight against foreign-backed terrorists, especially in Syria and Iraq where Daesh captured large swathes of territory after 2014.
Following US allegations of Iranian threats in the region, spokesman of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement Mohammad al-Qebaly met with Iraq’s Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba representative Ali al-Asadi in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Friday.
The two representatives reportedly discussed regional affairs and Washington’s provocations against the resistance forces in the region.