Mon, Oct 24, 2011 - Page 5 News List

US warns Iran on interference in Iraq after pullout

AFP, Washington

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday implicitly warned Iran not to interfere in Iraq after the decision to pull all US troops out of the war-wracked state by the end of the year.

Clinton, on a visit to Tajikistan, echoed US President Barack Obama’s comments that the US would continue to work with Iraq despite a complete military withdrawal, but urged neighboring states to be similarly constructive.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

“To countries in the region, especially Iraq’s neighbors, we want to emphasize that America will stand with our allies and friends, including Iraq, in defense of our common security and interests,” she said.

The US would continue to have a presence in the region, which “should be free from outside interference to continue on a pathway to democracy,” Clinton added, alluding to US arch-foe Iran.

UNDER FIRE

Washington has frequently accused Shiite militant groups in Iran of committing attacks in Iraq and US officials routinely criticize Tehran for interfering in the affairs of Baghdad’s Shiite-led government.

Obama’s order for all US soldiers to leave Iraq by Dec. 31 will end a divisive and bloody war that cost the lives of more than 4,400 US troops, tens of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of billions of US dollars.

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