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Iran’s Khamenei says even 1 US soldier in Iraq is ‘too much’

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday said the presence of even one American soldier in Iraq is “too much,” reiterating his call for their ouster.

Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting with Iraq’s President Abdul Latif Rashid, who is on his first official visit to Tehran since taking office in October last year.

Iran’s supreme leader told the visiting official that the US is “not the friend of anyone,” and not even loyal to Europeans, his office said in a statement.

Calling for the expansion of bilateral cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad, Khamenei said there are “fierce enemies” to stronger ties between the two countries.

Earlier in the day, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi held delegation-level talks with his Iraqi counterpart that were followed by a joint press conference.

Raisi said Iran deems the presence of foreign forces in the region a source of insecurity, adding that a security cooperation agreement was reached between the two sides.

“Our relationship with Iraq is based on common interests,” Raisi remarked. “Americans think about their interests, not the interest of countries in the region.”

Iran has repeatedly called for the expulsion of US-led coalition forces from Iraq, especially since top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad in January 2020.

The US has, in turn, accused Iran-linked militia groups of carrying out attacks on American facilities and convoys in Iraq.

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