Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei told visiting Iraq prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, not to trust the Americans, and warned that they are “waiting for an opportunity to hit you with a blow”. He added, the U.S. is “against Iraq’s identity, independence and unity”.
These accusations have been repeated many times by Iranian officials, but the U.S. has always reaffirmed its commitment to preserve Iraq’s independence and unity.
U.S. intervention and assistance has been crucial for the Iraqi government in its fight against the Islamic State group.
Khamenei also said that “The emergence of disputes and splits [among Iraqis] is the opportunity America is waiting for to bring down its blow” adding; “This opportunity should not be given to them. At the same time, their troops should not be allowed into Iraq in the guise of training and other excuses.”
These remarks coincide with the strong criticism Iraq’s vice president Iyad Allawi voiced in an interview with Reuters, in which he accused Iran of interfering in Iraq and said that Iran has even intervened in the decision making of the Iraqi people.
Allawi expressed concern that Iran’s support for Shia paramilitary groups in Iraq prevents national reconciliation in the country.
In his meeting with the Iraqi prime minister, Khamenei praised the Hashd el-Sha’abi paramilitary groups and said that the U.S. is against these groups because it wants Iraq to lose one its most important pillars of national power.
Islamic Republic’s supreme leader also spoke about reports that Iraqi Kurdistan might be planning a referendum for possible independence. He voiced his opposition to the separation of one part of the country and said Iraq must preserve its territorial integrity.
Iraq’s prime minister is on a three-country tour of the region. He visited Saudi Arabia on Monday. At the end of the visit, both countries pledged to expand and strengthen cooperation. Some reports say that the two neighbors have decided to improve their lukewarm ties and cooperate against terrorism.