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PM: Iran’s Soleimani was in Iraq to discuss relations with Saudi 

January 6, 2020 at 11:55 am

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi (L) attends an Iraqi parliament session in Baghdad, Iraq, on 05 January 2020. [Iraqi prime minister office /Handout – Anadolu Agency]

Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi revealed yesterday that he was scheduled to meet the Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani on Friday, the day the US assassinated him in a drone strike in Baghdad.

Abdul-Mahdi told the Iraqi parliament during a session to discuss the foreign presence in Iraq that he was due to discuss efforts to defuse tensions in the region with the deceased general.

“Soleimani was scheduled to deliver me Iran’s response to a previous message sent from Saudi Arabia to Tehran through us,” he said.

Regarding foreign military presence in Iraq, Abdul-Mahdi said: “We are faced with two options, either to end the foreign forces presence with an immediate decision or to start setting a timetable for their withdrawal and limit their tasks to training activities,” adding that ending foreign military presence in Iraq with immediate effect is the logical option.

READ: Oil prices jump after US air strike kills top Iranian commander 

Iraq’s parliament yesterday called for US and other foreign troops to leave as the backlash grows against the US killing of Soleimani.

American President Donald Trump responded by threatening sanctions against Iraq and said that if US troops were required to leave the country, Iraq’s government would have to pay Washington for the cost of a “very extraordinarily expensive” air base there.

He said if Iraq asked US forces to leave on an unfriendly basis, “we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”