"It is about time for the Americans ... to be more prudent and wise in their approach," Salehi said
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi attends the funeral of the late Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz, at Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque, on October 25, 2011 in Riyadh. The US is not following a "rational" approach in its reported plans to increase its military presence in the Gulf after it withdraws from Iraq, Salehi said on Monday in Baghdad. © Fayez Nureldine - AFP/File
AFP
Last updated: October 31, 2011

Iran Foreign Minister: US not rational on Gulf troops

The US is not following a "rational" approach in its reported plans to increase its military presence in the Gulf after it withdraws from Iraq, Iran's foreign minister said on Monday in Baghdad.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari meanwhile told a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi that Baghdad plans to close a camp of exiled Iranian opposition members in Iraq by the year's end.

"They are not following a rational and a prudent approach. The Americans always have a deficit, unfortunately, in rationality and prudence," Salehi said when asked about a report that the US plans to increase its troop presence in the Gulf after its Iraq withdrawal.

"It is about time for the Americans... to be more prudent and wise in their approach," Salehi said.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the United States plans to bolster its military presence in the Gulf after the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq.

Citing unnamed officials and diplomats, the newspaper said the repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.

Salehi also dismissed warnings from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta against Iranian interference in Iraq after US forces leave.

"We have been used to such comments from the Americans for the past 30 years," Salehi said.

"Iraq does not need anybody to meddle into its internal affairs," Salehi said. "Iraqis know better than anybody else how to run their country."

Zebari made the same point at the news conference.

"After the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq... no other party can fill the vacuum in Iraq except the people of Iraq and the government of Iraq, and I think we are capable, we are mature enough... to run this country," he said.

Zebari also said Iraq's government is resolved to close down Camp Ashraf, an installation northeast of Baghdad where thousands of members of the People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran have been based for decades.

"We have already made it clear about closing... Camp Ashraf before," Zebari said. "The decision will be implemented by the end of this year."

"The government insists on completing this mission... There is no government that would agree to an organisation staying against its (authorities') will, laws and sovereignty."

US President Barack Obama announced on October 21 that all US troops would leave Iraq by the end of 2011, ending a war that resulted in the deaths of more than 4,400 US troops, tens of thousands of Iraqis and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars.

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