Iraq's president rejects U.S. comments to 'watch Iran' from Iraq

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Iraq's President Barham Salih on Monday rejected any role for U.S. troops in Iraq beyond helping Iraq's security forces.

Salih's comments came during the Rafidain Center for Dialogue (RCD) Forum in Baghdad, in response to a question regarding recent comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump and the intention of the latter to keep an eye on Iran through his troops in Iraq.

"The presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is part of an agreement to support Iraqi forces in the fight against terror," Salih said.

"Trump did not ask for our permission to watch Iran. Do not burden Iraq with issues that don't represent a priority to it," Salih added.

During an interview with U.S.-based CBS television broadcasted on Sunday, the U.S. president highlighted the importance of U.S. troops in Iraq "to watch Iran," adding that he has no intention to strike Iran.

U.S. troops, stationed in several military bases across Iraq, are part of an anti-Islamic State (IS) global coalition which has been fighting and conducting airstrikes against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.

On Dec. 26, 2018, Trump paid a surprise visit during Christmas time to U.S. troops stationed in the Ayn al-Asad air base, which has the largest number of U.S. troops, along with others from different coalition members. 

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