The Iraqi Foreign Ministry rejected on Saturday what it called US interference in its affairs after the US embassy issued a statement telling neighboring Iran to respect Iraq’s sovereignty and allow demobilization of Shi’ite militias.
The US embassy in Baghdad had posted a message on Twitter on Tuesday saying Tehran must “respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration” of Shi’ite militias.
It was one of several statements issued on the embassy’s Twitter account outlining US demands before new US sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sector take effect on Sunday, November 4. The sanctions worry Iraq as it imports crucial supplies from Iran.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it “rejects interference in Iraq’s internal affairs, especially domestic security reform” and demanded the Twitter post be removed.
Washington and Tehran have competed for influence in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Iraq’s Shi’ite militias, which took part in a US-backed campaign to defeat Daesh, were formally included in the security forces this year. Some militias are backed by Iran, a majority Shi’ite nation. Washington wants them disarmed.
The United States has said it would grant Baghdad a waiver on Iranian gas and energy imports that feed Iraqi power stations and vital food items, Iraqi officials said on Friday.