'President of Iran' Barham Salih meets Trump in Davos

'President of Iran': White House confuses Middle East ally with arch-enemy following Trump's Davos meeting
3 min read
22 January, 2020
The White House quickly changed the video's title to hide the error, but not before screenshots of the gaffe were circulated widely on social media.

US President Donald Trump and his Iraqi counterpart Barham Saleh met in Davos [AFP/Getty]

The US White House wrongly described Iraqi President Barham Saleh as the "President of Iran" after a meeting between him and President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The Trump administration posted a video of a press conference held after the meeting, describing President Saleh as the "President of Iran" in the title rather than the "President of Iraq".

The video's title was quickly changed to hide the error, but not before screenshots of the gaffe were widely circulated on social media.

The meeting with President Barham Saleh was the first between Trump and Iraqi officials since tensions erupted over the US killing of a top Iranian general and a senior pro-Iranian Iraqi commander in Baghdad.

After calls in Iraq for the expulsion of thousands of US troops stationed there, Trump responded by threatening sanctions aimed at wrecking the country's economy.

When asked on the plan for US troops in Iraq, who are there to fight the Islamic State group, Trump said a number of options were discussed.

"We are obviously working on a lot of things together. We are working on the military, on ISIS. We have a whole host of very difficult things to discuss, and very positive things also," President Trump said at the conference.

"You will be hearing whatever we do. They like what we're doing and we like them. We've had a very good relationship," he added.

Iraqi President Saleh attended the meeting with President Trump despite threats from an Iran-backed Iraqi militia.

Hezbollah Brigades had threatened President Saleh, saying they would prevent him from returning to Iraq if he met with President Trump, The National reported.

"We stress the need for Barham Salih to not meet Trump and his vicious mob. If he meets with them then Iraqis will take a stand against him," Abu Ali Al Askari, a high-ranking security official in Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades, posted on Twitter.

Trump, who arrived in Davos for the annual World Economic Forum get-together on Tuesday and leaves Wednesday, also met with the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government Nechirvan Barzani.

These meetings have taken place on the sidelines of the Davos conference, which this year is focusing heavily on climate emergency and social inequality.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who had been due to attend, cancelled his visit amid a spike in global tensions following a US drone strike that killed Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani.

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