Baghdad rejects Trump’s claims ‘Iran is taking over’

Haider al-Abadi, Iraq Prime Minister

In response to a tweet by US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, in which he claimed Iran was “rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq,” the spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office, Sa’ad al-Hadithi, has said in a statement, “Iraq is an independent country, and not influenced by any other state”.

“We prefer not to talk about another country’s approach to Iraq, as this is their concern. Iraq today is an independent country capable of making its own decisions and with its territorial integrity respected,” the statement read.

Al-Hadithi also warned, “The government of Iraq will not accept any attack or intervention by any government into its internal affairs. This is Iraq’s policy and applied to all countries around the world”.

Rising US-Iran tensions since Trump took office have spilled into neighbouring Iraq. In response to a journalist’s question yesterday about the possibility of US military intervention into Iran, Trump had said, “nothing is off the table”.

As part of the international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group, the US army is currently supporting the Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga in the fight to take Mosul back from IS, it’s stronghold in the country. Iran has also provided the Iraqi government military aid and assistance both logistically and on the ground since IS overran Mosul, the second largest city in the country, back in 2014.