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Saturday Dec 14 2019
By
AFP

Mike Pompeo warns Iran against harming US interests in Iraq

By
AFP
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: File

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday warned Iran of a "decisive" response if US interests are harmed in Iraq, after a series of rocket attacks on bases.

"We must... use this opportunity to remind Iran's leaders that any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies or our interests will be answered with a decisive US response," Pompeo said in a statement.

"Iran must respect the sovereignty of its neighbors and immediately cease its provision of lethal aid and support to third parties in Iraq and throughout the region," he said.

The United States has expressed mounting concern about the flurry of attacks on Iraqi bases used by US troops, several of which it has blamed on Iranian-backed Shia paramilitary groups.

Two rocket attacks this week targeted a compound near Baghdad International Airport, which houses US troops, with an incident Wednesday wounding Iraqi troops.

Pompeo, who has repeatedly warned Tehran, pinned the blame for the latest attacks squarely on "Iran's proxies."

Iran has gained overwhelming influence in Iraq, its neighbour with which it shares a Shiite majority, since the 2003 US invasion brought down Saddam Hussein.

President Donald Trump's administration, which is close to Iran's adversaries Saudi Arabia and Israel, has been trying to counter Tehran's influence around the region, including through sanctions aimed at blocking all its oil exports.

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