Iran welcomes US pullout, urges punishment for Iraq invaders
Tehran: Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad welcomed the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq but
called for punishment of the invaders, state television's
Arabic-language Al-Alam channel said on Wednesday.
Ahmadinejad "welcomed the pullout of US forces from
Iraq but said that those behind the invasion of this country
should be put on trial and punished before an international
court," the channel reported.
If US President Barack "Obama wants to do something
useful, he should pledge not to interfere in Iraq, take his
forces out of Iraq and recognise Iraq's independence and
punish criminals," the channel quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in
"The terrorists use the presence of US forces and
their crimes as a pretext. If there are no crimes, they will
not have any excuses for extremism and terrorism," the
hardline president added.
Late on Tuesday, Obama announced the formal end of the
US combat mission in Iraq. US troop numbers in the country are
now down to less than 50,000 and their mission is restricted
to training and counterterrorism.
Shiite Iran has enjoyed warm relations with the
Shiite-led governments in Baghdad ushered in by the overthrow
of now executed dictator Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated
regime in the US-led invasion of 2003.
But it has been unnerved by the presence of US troops
on both its western and eastern borders -- in Iraq and
Afghanistan -- and has repeatedly called for their complete
On Tuesday, the Iranian foreign ministry dismissed as
"unacceptable" the continued US troop presence in Iraq.