US Needs to Drop Anti-Iran Stance

US Needs to Drop  Anti-Iran Stance US Needs to Drop  Anti-Iran Stance

Iran called on the US administration to abandon its hostile stance aimed at limiting Tehran's regional counter-terrorism role, in response to a US demand to withdraw from the Iraqi war against the self-styled Islamic State terror group.

"Unfortunately the Americans do not want to correct their view and accept that Iran is the [main] cause of stability and peace and contributor to the campaign against terrorism in the region. If it were not for the sacrifices of the 'defenders of holy shrines', Daesh [an Arab acronym for IS] would have become established in Damascus, Baghdad and Erbil," IRNA quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on Sunday.

He was referring to the units of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps deployed in Syria and Iraq at the request of their governments to advise their troops on their fight against IS militants.

The top diplomat called on the US statesmen to "revise their wrong approach and stop supporting Saudi Arabia… to halt the increasing damage to the region."

His US counterpart Rex Tillerson said earlier in the day it was time for Iran-backed groups and Iranian military advisors who helped Iraq defeat IS to "go home", after a rare joint meeting with the leaders of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

"Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, [they] need to go home. The foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home and allow the Iraqi people to regain control," Tillerson said at a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis heeded a call to arms in 2014 after IS seized a third of the country's territory, by forming the Popular Mobilization Forces, which are backed by Tehran and have been declared part of the Iraqi security apparatus.

A senior US official said Tillerson had been referring to PMF and Quds Force, the foreign arm of the IRGC, Reuters reported.

***Shameful Foreign Policy

Zarif also denounced Tillerson's remarks in a post on his Twitter page, saying they were influenced by Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia.

"Exactly what country is it that Iraqis who rose up to defend their homes against ISIS return to?" Zarif's tweet said. "Shameful US FP [foreign policy], dictated by petrodollars."

The PMF support was crucial to Iraqi military's success in dislodging IS from Mosul and other cities in northern Iraq this year.

Several thousand US troops are still in the country, mostly for training but also to carry out raids against IS.

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