TEHRAN — Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, says warmongers want to escalate the tension between Iran and the United States.
“Behind the recent U.S. moves in Iraq is an election agenda,” Falahatpisheh said on Tuesday, according to ISNA. “The interests of third-party countries and warmongers are in escalating the tension between Iran and the U.S.”
“What’s happening in Iraq today due to the presence of U.S. military forces is against that country’s domestic laws and the people’s interests,” he said.
According to reports, the U.S. has deployed Patriot missile systems to Iraqi military bases to purportedly protect American troops against potential missile attacks. One of the Patriot batteries was reportedly deployed to the Ain al-Asad facility in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.
Last month, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon had ordered a secret directive, which called on U.S. military commanders to prepare a campaign against Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is part of Hashd al-Sha’abi.
But the United States’ top commander in Iraq has warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive.
Lieutenant General Robert P. White wrote in a blunt memo that a new military campaign would also require that thousands more American troops be sent to Iraq and divert resources from the so-called fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
Falahatpisheh said the move extends U.S. presence in Iraq, which is against the domestic laws of both Iraq and the United States.
Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC Quds Force, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Hashd al-Sha’abi in a U.S. airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump two days earlier.
Later on January 9, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the former Iraqi prime minister, called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.
Abdul-Mahdi said Iraq rejects any violation of its sovereignty, particularly the U.S. military’s violation of Iraqi airspace in the assassination airstrike.
Following the deployment of Patriot, Iran warned the U.S. that it was leading the Middle East to disaster in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. deployment runs “counter to the official position of the Iraqi government, parliament and people,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It called for a halt to “warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak” and warned that U.S. military activities in the region could lead it to “instability and disaster”.
U.S. forces should “respect the wishes of the Iraqi people and government and leave the country,” the statement added.