Iran FM Salehi: US not 'rational' on Gulf troops

AFP , Monday 31 Oct 2011

Iran's foreign minister says the US is not following a "rational" approach in its reported plans to increase its military presence in the Gulf after it withdraws from Iraq

The Americans are not following a rational and a prudent approach. They always have a deficit, unfortunately, in rationality and prudence," Iran's foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters when asked about a report that the US plans increase its troop presence in the Gulf after its year-end Iraq pullout.

"It is about time for the Americans ... to be more prudent and wise in their approach," Salehi said at a joint news conference at Iraq's foreign ministry alongside Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the United States plans to bolster its military presence in the Gulf after the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq.

Citing unnamed officials and diplomats, the newspaper said the repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.

Salehi also dismissed warnings from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta against Iranian interference in Iraq after US forces leave.

"We have been used to such comments from the Americans for the past 30 years," Salehi said.

"Iraq does not need anybody to meddle into its internal affairs," Salehi said. "Iraqis know better than anybody else how to run their country."

Zebari made the same point at the news conference.

"After the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq ... no other party can fill the vacuum in Iraq except the people of Iraq and the government of Iraq, and I think we are capable, we are mature enough ... to run this country," Zebari said.

Obama announced on October 21 that all US troops would leave Iraq by the end of 2011, ending a war that resulted in the deaths of more than 4,400 US troops, tens of thousands of Iraqis and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars.

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