London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Shiekh Jalaluddin al Saghir, a leading member of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) and member of the United Iraqi Alliance has told Asharq Al-Awsat that the strategic agreement that will be approved this summer between Iraq and the United States is in the interest of Iraq will not harm the interests of Iraq’s neighbors.
Al Saghir’s comments to Asharq Al-Awsat came in response to the objections raised by Hussein Shariatmadari, adviser to the Iranian Supreme Guide Ali Khamanei published in Asharq Al-Awsat Tuesday against the agreement.
Shariatmadari told Asharq Al-Awsat that the strategic agreement is a return to the cold war between Iraq and Iran and the latter’s isolation,” and would turn Iraq into “an American satellite.”
In an editorial published in the Iranian Keyhan Newspaper, Shariatmadari said the agreement allows the United States to use Iraqi territory, airspace, and territorial waters to attack countries in the region and would harm Iraq’s ties with its regional neighbors.
Al Saghir told Asharq Al-Awsat, “It is too early to talk about the agreement since even the first draft is yet to be finalized.”
“We understand Iran’s fears regarding this agreement because it will affect a number of countries…it is only natural that Iran expresses its concerns,” added al Saghir.
He went on to affirm that the agreement does not entail the presence of US military bases in Iraq and added that the Americans do not want to establish such bases.
Moreover, al Saghir denied claims made by an Iranian newspaper that the strategic agreement had been forced upon Iraq by the US.