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Sistani rejects Trump's statements on US troops

Ali al-Sistani
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani
Iraq's Shiite cleric has expressed his criticism of President Donald Trump's recent statement that US troops should stay in Iraq to keep an eye on neighboring Iran.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is the latest Iraqi official to criticize Trump's remarks made to US media in which he said US troops are needed in Iraq so that America can "watch Iran.'

Al-Sistani says Iraq rejects serving as a launching pad to harm any other country. He spoke on Wednesday, during a meeting with UN Iraq envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert at the cleric's base in the city of Najaf.

He says Iraq aspires to have good and balanced relations with all neighboring countries, without interference in its internal affairs.

Both Iraq's president and prime minister have hit back at Trump's statements.
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