Iraq says will stay clear of U.S.-Iran tensions | Reuters

By Maher Chmaytelli and Saif Hameed | BAGHDAD BAGHDAD Iraq won't take part in any regional or international conflicts, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told state TV on Saturday.The comment came after Abadi had spoke in a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump during which tensions with Iran were mentioned

Reuters February 11, 2017 22:30:06 IST
Iraq says will stay clear of U.S.-Iran tensions
| Reuters

Iraq says will stay clear of USIran tensions
 Reuters

By Maher Chmaytelli and Saif Hameed
| BAGHDAD

BAGHDAD Iraq won't take part in any regional or international conflicts, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told state TV on Saturday.The comment came after Abadi had spoke in a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump during which tensions with Iran were mentioned. The call was the first between the two leaders. A political commentator close to Abadi, Ihsan al-Shammari, said Abadi's comment addressed the U.S.-Iranian tensions. Iran has close ties with the Shi'ite political elite ruling Iraq while Washington is providing critical military support to Iraqi forces battling Islamic State. "Iraq is very keen to preserve its national interests (..)and does not wish to be part of any regional or international conflict which would lead to disasters for the region and for Iraq," Abadi said, according to state TV.Trump said on Friday that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani "better be careful" after the latter was quoted as saying that anyone who speaks to Iranians with threats would ''regret it.''

The White House on Friday said Trump and Abadi "spoke to the threat Iran presents across the entire region," in their first phone call since the inauguration of the U.S. president.Abadi's office on Friday also gave a readout of the phone call that took place overnight Thursday, without specifically mentioning Iran. Both readouts stressed the importance of their continued cooperation against Islamic State, as the militants are being pushed back in Iraq and losing control over Mosul, the last major city stronghold under their control in the country.The United States has more than 5,000 troops deployed in Iraq and is providing air and ground support in the battle of Mosul.

Iran has also played a major role in the fight against Islamic State by arming and training Iraqi Shi'ite groups collectively known as Popular Mobilization. "The Iraqi prime minister Dr Abadi is stressing once again the policy of neutrality and to steer clear from conflicts,'' political commentator Shammari told state TV.The Iraqi readout said Abadi asked Trump to lift the ban on people from his country traveling to the United States.

U.S. courts suspended the restrictions announced end January on entries from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Trump has said he will keep trying to reinstate them.Abadi resisted calls from influential pro-Iranian Shi'ite politicians to retaliate against the ban, at a meeting held on Jan. 29, citing Iraq's need for U.S. military support.Washington last week ratcheted up pressure on Iran, putting sanctions on 13 individuals and 12 entities days after the White House put Tehran "on notice" over a ballistic missile test.Iran's dominant influence in Iraqi politics was eroded after Islamic State routed the Iraqi army commanded then by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a close ally of Tehran, in 2014. (Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.