Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Monday that the United States has not asked permission from Iraq for U.S. troops to “watch Iran”.
On Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump told CBS “Face the Nation” in an interview that it is important to keep a U.S. military presence in Iraq to keep a close eye on neighboring Iran.
But on Monday, speaking in Baghdad, Salih responded to a question about Trump’s comments and confirmed that Iraq was not asked for a permission.
He added that U.S. troops are in Iraq as part of an agreement between the two countries with a specific mission to counter terrorism.
Trump also made a similar reference about Afghanistan, saying the U.S. can keep a small intelligence presence in that country, although troops must be pulled out.
Trump’s comments will most likely put Iraq’s government and politicians in a tough position, as Iran has many allies in Iraq, represented in parliament and among influential circles.