Iran says US has plan to divide Iraq, pleads with Iraqis to resist
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday accused the US of trying to divide Iraq along sectarian and ethnic lines and urged Iraqis to withstand any such plans.
It was not clear if Khamenei was referring to a specific incident, but Iran has protested about US policy in Iraq several times this year.
“The Americans must not be allowed to consider Iraq as their personal property … and dare to openly talk about disintegration of Iraq,” Khamenei said according to his website.
“The Iraqi people, Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and Arabs have been living together peacefully but some regional countries and some foreigners are trying to amplify differences among them,” he added.
On Tuesday Khamenei met Iraq’s President Fouad Massoum on the sidelines of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Summit in Tehran.
In August, outgoing US Army chief of staff General Ray Odierno drew condemnation from Baghdad and Tehran when he said reconciliation between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq was becoming harder and that partitioning the country “might be the only solution.”
In the instability resulting from the rise of Daesh , Iraq’s Kurds have expanded the reach of their autonomous regional government to include Kirkuk, which sits on substantial oil deposits.
The US, whose 2003 invasion of Iraq marked the beginning of the country’s descent into violence, is supporting Kurdish peshmerga fighting Daesh and leads a coalition carrying out air strikes against the group. There are currently around 3,360 troops stationed in the country.
Iran’s backing of Shiite militias fighting Daesh has also added to sectarian divisions.