“American forces must be expelled from Iraq in accordance with the decision approved by the country’s parliament and this is also a public demand on the part of the Iraqi people,” Major General Hossein Salami said in a meeting with the visiting Iraqi Defense Minister Lieutenant General Juma Anad Saadoun Khattab in Tehran on Sunday.
Anti-US sentiment has been running high in Iraq since the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, along with their companions in a US terror drone strike authorized by US President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3.
Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill two days later, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.
Salami further noted that Iraq is dearly held in the heart of Iranians, because it hosts mausoleums of Shia imams.
“Protecting the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq and boosting cooperation to maintain border security is among our policies; and one of our big aspirations is to see a united, integrated, and free Iraq independent of the will of [the world’s big] powers.”
He added that Iran would definitely take revenge against those who assassinated General Soleimani and Muhandis, who, he said, played the “most determining” role in removing the threat of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The IRGC’s chief commander emphasized that measures taken to avenge the two commanders would have nothing to do with the legal process underway in this regard, adding that the “children of great Iraq” would certainly do their job to that end.
The Iraqi defense minister, for his part, said Tehran has provided Baghdad with vital help at the sensitive time of the Daesh attack on Iraq and helped the Arab country in its fight against terrorism.
Iran provided Iraq with all it required in the battle against Daesh, Anad said, adding that Baghdad would never forget Tehran’s assistance.
He noted that his current trip to Tehran is aimed at promoting bilateral relations and asking the Islamic Republic to supply the requirements of the Iraqi armed forces.
Heading a high-ranking delegation of military commanders, Anad arrived in the Iranian capital on Saturday upon an official invitation by Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami.
“The Defense Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its numerous capacities and infrastructure which are the outcome of cruel sanctions [imposed] after the victory of the Islamic Revolution (in 1979), is ready to fulfill the needs of Iraq’s Armed Forces in order to promote the country’s defense power,” the Iranian defense chief said.
Anad also held separate meetings with Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri and Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani earlier on Sunday.