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Iran’s Raisi says US presence ‘disrupts’ Middle East security

By AFP - Feb 08,2024 - Last updated at Feb 08,2024

TEHRAN — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday criticised the deployment of US troops in the Middle East, saying it “disrupts security”.

“The presence of US forces in our region has no justification,” Raisi said in a Tehran ceremony ahead of the 45th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic revolution on February 12.

Referring to both past and present deployments, he said the US presence “in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and the region is in no way creating security. It disrupts the security in the region”.

Raisi’s remarks to foreign diplomats came while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was on a regional tour for talks on a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas.

Regional tensions have soared since the start of the Hamas-Israel war on October 7, drawing in Iran-backed groups in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.

That includes dozens of drone and rocket attacks against US and coalition troops deployed to Iraq and Syria since 2014 to fight the Daesh group.

The United States, alongside Britain, also launched repeated strikes against Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis in response to the rebels’ persistent attacks on commercial shipping.

The Houthis say their attacks in the Red Sea are in solidarity with Palestinians in war-battered Gaza.

The Islamic republic condemned the strikes in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

During his speech, Raisi denounced what he called “Iranophobia” and “Islamophobia” and accused the United States of creating it.

Tehran and Washington have had no formal diplomatic ties since 1980, following the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the storming of the US embassy.

 

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