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Iranian leader: U.S. presence is Iraq's main problem

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Do it for the Vine! Staff Member

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    By Fredrik Dahl and Hashem Kalantari
    2 hours, 19 minutes ago



    TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday that the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq was the biggest obstacle to its development as a united country.

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    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hit out at the "occupiers" in Iraq at a time when Baghdad is negotiating with the United States on a new agreement aimed at giving a legal basis for U.S. troops to stay in Iraq after December 31, when their U.N. mandate expires.

    Iran and the United States blame each other for violence in Iraq and are also sharply at odds over Tehran's nuclear program, which Washington suspects is aimed at making bombs. Iran says it is a peaceful drive to produce electricity.

    "The presence of occupiers in Iraq, particularly the U.S. armed forces ... is the main obstacle to unity in Iraq," state radio quoted Khamenei, Shi'ite Iran's top authority, as saying.

    He accused them of using their military and security powers to interfere in Iraq's internal affairs but that the "Americans' dreams" in the Middle East country would not be realized.

    The talks on a "status of forces" deal are the subject of heated debate both in United States and Iraq, where thousands have answered the anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's call for weekly protests after Friday Muslim prayers.

    U.S. officials have accused Iran of seeking to derail the negotiations by "inspiring" media reports that the United States is trying to force Iraq to accept a deal on permanent bases.

    In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said when asked if he thought Iraq could resist Iranian pressure not to make such a deal with the United States: "Iraq is a sovereign state that is going to act in its national interest."

    DEFENCE AND OIL COOPERATION

    Iran and Iraq fought an eight-year war in the 1980s but ties have improved since U.S.-led forces ousted the Sunni Arab strongman Saddam Hussein five years ago and a Shi'ite Muslim-dominated government came to power in Baghdad.

    The Iranian and Iraqi defense ministers signed a memorandum of understanding during Maliki's visit to boost defense cooperation "with the aim of strengthening peace and stability in the region," Iran's official IRNA news agency said.

    Mine clearance and search for soldiers missing in action during their 1980-88 war would form part of the cooperation.

    The two members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) also agreed to increase oil sector cooperation, a senior Iranian official said.

    Maliki's government treads a fine line in its relations with the Islamic Republic, seeking support while mindful of U.S. accusations that Iran supports Shi'ite militias in Iraq.

    Iran denies this and blames the presence of U.S. troops, currently numbering about 150,000, for the bloodshed that has followed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

    Iraq's government spokesman said before Maliki's three-day visit started on Saturday that the issue of Iranian interference would be raised, but it was not clear whether it had been discussed in his meetings so far in Tehran.

    Analysts say Iran does not want Iraq to descend into chaos but nor does it want U.S. forces to have an easy ride, which might give Washington ideas about military options against Iran.

    (Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Tehran and by Washington bureau; Editing by Diana Abdallah)
  2. Jarv

    Jarv Loud pipes saves lives.

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    I never really liked Iran anyhow. Can we put their president on ignore ???
  3. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Comical.
  4. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    :laugh2: :laugh2: :laugh2:

    I would like to shove a fat ham hock in his pie hole.
  5. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    I would rather shove the whole pig in another orifice.
  6. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    I just knew you were into kinky things.;)
  7. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    don't soldiers get in trouble for that? : )

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