General Hassan Firouzabadi hailed the “forced departure” of the U.S. and allied forces that he said “was due to the resistance and determination of the Iraqi people and government,” the state Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.
The statements were made in messages Firouzabadi sent to his Iraqi counterpart, Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari, and to Iraq's Acting Defense Minister, Saadun al-Dulaimi, IRNA said.
The departure of the U.S. troops “was due to the resistance and determination of the Iraqi people and government,” he said.
“I hope the humiliating failure of the United States after 9 years of occupying Iraq will serve as a lesson for them to never think of attacking another country,” he said.
Firouzabadi added that Iran was now “ready to expand its military and security ties with Iraq.”
Zebari led a delegation of Iraqi Military Chiefs to Iran last month to explore greater cooperation between the two defense forces.
U.S. analysts have expressed concern that Iran could exploit the vacuum left by the U.S. withdrawal to bolster links with Iraq's Shiite-led government.
The United States frequently accused Iran of arming Iraqi militias that attacked U.S. Forces when they were deployed there.
U.S. President Barack Obama said on December 14 that, while the situation left behind in Iraq was not perfect, “we are leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq.”
His administration has warned Iran against trying to interfere in Iraq.
Source: FP; IRNA; Photo: Reuters