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Iran, US Exchange Letters in Iraq

Iran, US Exchange Letters in Iraq

Friday, 14 September, 2018 - 08:00
Baghdad, London- Asharq Al-Awsat
Republican US senators plan to introduce legislation on Wednesday seeking to counteract what they see as Iran’s increasing influence in Iraq, amid concern about attacks in Iraq by groups US officials consider Iranian proxies, a Senate aide said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) chief commander, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, acknowledged that Iran had conducted the September 8 missile strike on Kurdish militants in Iraq, saying it was "message" to the enemies of Tehran.

Last Saturday, IRGC fired seven short-range missiles at a gathering of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) commanders killing 15 people and injuring others.

Republican senators Ted Cruz, David Perdue, and Marco Rubio announced in a joint statement that they are taking action to sanction two Iranian-controlled militias in Iraq and Syria.

They introduced the Iranian Proxies Terrorist Sanctions Act following recently declassified reports that Iran provided ballistic missiles and funding for terrorist activities to two Shiite proxies, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, and Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba.

The bill, circulated by Senator Perdue on Sunday night, requires the US Secretary of State to publish and maintain an annual list of all armed groups receiving assistance from the IRGC, so the public can examine the extent of Iran’s expansionist designs.

“For years, Iranian-backed militias have wreaked havoc in Iraq and Syria, killing American soldiers and undermining our national security interests. With the future of Iraq and Syria still at stake, we cannot allow these militias to run rampant,” said Perdue.

Cruz indicated that the Obama Iran deal gave “the Ayatollahs the resources to expand across the Middle East and created an incentive for the international community to stand aside, even as Iran’s terrorist proxies took root in country after country.”

Cruz explained that they have only begun the tough work of undoing the damage from the deal, which requires not just imposing and enforcing the toughest sanctions against the regime, but also implementing targeted measures against specific Iranian proxies.

Rubio also commented saying that Iran’s dangerous proxy militias in Iraq and Syria pose a serious threat to the Middle East and the world.

“This legislation would impose sanctions against Iran’s proxy militias and their agents and affiliates, and make clear that the United States opposes the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses, pursuit of ballistic missile programs, and terrorist activities around the world,” he concluded.

Iran, in turn, sent a warning to its enemies few days after launching several missiles on an Iranian Kurdish opposition group in Iraq.

Jafari said that Iran's missile program has high capabilities.
Iran has a stockpile of projectiles that are capable of hitting targets within a range of 2,000 kilometers with pinpoint accuracy, he was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.

"IRGC's recent revenge against the terrorists conveys a highly meaningful message to the enemies, particularly those superpowers who think they can impose their evil plots on us and bully us," Jafari said Thursday.

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