United States President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened Iraq with “never seen before” sanctions, hours after the Iraqi parliament voted to expel the US troops following the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, reported AFP
“If they do ask us to leave – if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis – we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before,” Trump said. “It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”
The president said the US base in Iraq was “very extraordinarily” expensive. “We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” he added.
The Iraqi parliament on Sunday approved a draft bill that would force the government to ask Washington to withdraw US troops from the country. During the Iraqi Parliament’s emergency session, some members repeatedly chanted “no to America”.
The move, however, is largely symbolic as there is no deadline for the withdrawal. Besides, the matter is still pending Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s approval.
Trump also promised “major retaliation” if Iran tries to avenge Soleimani’s killing. He reiterated his threat of bombing Iranian cultural sites.
“They’re allowed to kill our people,” Trump said. “They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”
General Soleimani was assassinated in an air strike by the US at Baghdad airport early on Friday. Trump had defended Soleimani’s assassination, alleging that he had contributed to “terror plots as far away as New Delhi and London”. Trump was referring to the attacks on Israeli diplomats in Delhi in February 2012. Iran has vowed to take revenge for the assassination.