Iraqi leaders condemn Iranian strikes as 'violation of sovereignty'

‘Violation of Iraqi sovereignty’: Iraqi president, parliament speaker condemn Iranian strikes on US bases
2 min read
08 January, 2020
Iraq’s president and speaker of parliament have condemned Iran’s missile attack on bases hosting US forces in Iraq as a “violation of state sovereignty”.
President Barham Saleh denounced the Iranian strikes [Getty]

Iraq's president and speaker of parliament have condemned Iran’s missile attack on US forces inside Iraq as a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty” in two separate statements.

President Barham Saleh on Wednesday said he feared "dangerous developments" in the region as a result of the strikes.

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"We denounce the Iranian missile bombing that hit military installations on Iraqi territory and renew our rejection of the repeated violation of state sovereignty and the transformation of Iraq into a battlefield for warring sides," his office said in a statement.

Iran launched 22 missiles early Wednesday at the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq and another base in Erbil in northern Iraq. This was in response to the killing of senior Revolution Guards commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Iraq last week. No casualties were reported as a result of the strikes.

The speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Mohammed al-Halbusi, also said that the strikes were a "violation of Iraqi sovereignty".

Halbusi is the most senior Sunni Arab in Iraq's sectarian power-sharing system.

"While we condemn the Iranian violation of Iraqi sovereignty at dawn today... we confirm our absolute refusal to the conflicting parties to use the Iraqi arena to settle scores," he said.

The office of caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi said that it had had received "an official verbal message" from Iran informing it that a missile attack on US forces was imminent before the strikes happened.

The statement by Abdel Mahdi's spokesman said his office was simultaneously contacted by Washington as the missiles rained down.

"Iraq rejects any violation of its sovereignty and attacks on its territory," the statement said, without specifically condemning the missile strikes.

US forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011 but returned to the country as part of a coalition against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group. Iran also has a high degree of influence in Iraq and pro-Iran militias make up the core of the powerful Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) operating in the country.

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