Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, who is a former IRGC Qods force commander, says that the Tehran has pulled out all its “military advisors” after Baghdad declared victory against the Islamic State (IS) group.
Iraj Masjedi has also criticized the United States that, “Despite the end of Daesh (IS) it [U.S.] still has kept its forces in the region and instead of announcing an end to its military mission, is busy with reinforcing its bases and establishing new footholds”.
The Iranian state-controlled ISNA reports that Masjedi made his remarks in a gathering of “Iraqi students and media personalities” in Baghdad. The news agency does not say when the ambassador made his remarks, but the report was published on Friday.
In the summer of 2017, Iraq announced the battle against IS to be over, but acknowledged that some areas were still under the control of IS supporters, who occasionally claim responsibility for terror attacks.
The U.S. led coalition announced a few months ago that as long as operations to stabilize areas captured from IS continue its forces will remain in Iraq.
Earlier this year, a U.N. fact-finding mission estimated that about 30,000 IS members still remained active in Syrian and Iraq.
The remarks by the Iranian ambassador coincide with Iraqi political groups strongly protesting the Christmas trip of U.S. President Donald Trump to Iraq to meet with a select group of U.S. troops. They complain that Trump did not meet the Iraqi prime minister and his sudden visit was a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.