US presence fundamental problem for Iraq: Iran

June 9th, 2008 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, June 9 (Xinhua) Iran’s topmost leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Monday said Iraq’s greatest problem is the presence of US-led forces in its territory. “The most fundamental problem for Iraq is the presence of foreign forces in that country,” state television quoted Khamenei as telling visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki during a meeting.

“Helping the Iraqi nation and the government is our religious duty,” Khamenei said.

His remarks came as the United States has been pressuring Baghdad to sign an agreement that would allow US soldiers in the country to stay beyond 2008 and to launch a military operation from Iraqi territory without Baghdad’s approval.

Critics of the agreement say the proposed agreement means Iraq will be a client state in which the United States will keep more than 50 military bases and American soldiers will enjoy legal immunity.

Iran fiercely opposes the agreement, which is expected to be signed by midsummer.

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