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Iranian influence in Iraq essential – Khamenei

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Iran Focus: In a meeting with university lecturers and students, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged young people in Iraq to continue their struggle against U.S. forces in Najaf.
He said that Iran is a “source of hope for the world due to its confrontational position” towards the United States. Khamenei urged Iraqis to follow Iran’s example of achieving an Islamic Republic. Iran Focus

Tehran, Aug. 31 – In a meeting with university lecturers and students, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged young people in Iraq to continue their struggle against U.S. forces in Najaf.

He said that Iran is a “source of hope for the world due to its confrontational position” towards the United States. Khamenei urged Iraqis to follow Iran’s example of achieving an Islamic Republic.

In a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh on Sunday, Iran’s national security adviser, Hassan Rowhani, said the Iranian presence in Iraq was a sign of “strong bonds” between the two Shiite neighbours, adding that Iran wanted to be involved in “bringing security” to Iraq because the two countries’ security interests were “tied to each other.”

Rowhani said the Coalition must speedily withdraw from Iraq.

Rowhani’s call for the rapid withdrawal of Coalition forces from Iraq – a step that would create a power vacuum ready for Iran to fill – reflects the Iraq strategy being pursued by Khamenei and ex-president and strongman Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Rowhani is a trusted confidant of Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani and Khamenei have favored a strong interventionist line in Iraq, because both men see the emergence of a successful state in Iraq as a grave threat to their regime.

Fighting in Najaf ended last week when Iraq’s Shiite spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani brokered a peace deal.

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