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Iran cleric says ‘trapped’ US forces have no choice but to quit Iraq

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AFP: The United States has no choice but to pull its “trapped” forces out of Iraq, Iran’s official IRNA agency quoted top cleric Ahmad Khatami as saying during Friday prayers. TEHRAN, Dec 1, 2006 (AFP) – The United States has no choice but to pull its “trapped” forces out of Iraq, Iran’s official IRNA agency quoted top cleric Ahmad Khatami as saying during Friday prayers.

“The Americans have no other choice but to leave Iraq,” the conservative cleric said. “It’s in your interests to leave Iraq today rather than wait until tomorrow. The occupation of Iraq is not a morsel you can swallow easily.

“The Americans must leave Iraq quickly because they are trapped in a quagmire and can neither advance or retreat,” he said, accusing Washington and some regional media of stoking the bloody Shiite-Sunni sectarian conflict.

“Everyone should know that the United States is the main enemy of Islam. The Americans want neither Shiites or Sunnis. They continue their satanic policy to stay in the region,” he said.

Khatami is a member of the Assembly of Experts, which supervises the work of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on Wednesday wrapped up a three-day visit to Iran, after which his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said US troops should leave Iraq quickly.

“I advise you to leave Iraq to save whatever reputation you have left. Leave the responsibilities to Iraqi officials according to a timetable as the Iraqi government wants,” Ahmadinejad said.

Iran, a sworn enemy of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, has said it will help improve the dire security situation in Iraq, which is now headed by fellow Shiites, despite accusations that it is itself aiding Shiite militias.

Kidnappings, executions and car bombings are daily occurrences in Iraq, where the UN says more than 13,000 civilians were killed between July and October.

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