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Pentagon chief denies U.S. leaving Iraq; Tehran crowds mourn commander

WorldJan 06, 2020 06:01PM ET
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? Reuters. A view of the crowds at the Enqelab Square during the funeral of top Iranian general Soleimani in Tehran

By Ahmed Aboulenein and Phil Stewart

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has no plans to pull its troops out of Iraq, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday, following reports by Reuters and other media of an American military letter informing Iraq officials about the repositioning of troops in preparation to leave the country.

The developments came in the aftermath of Friday's drone strike in Baghdad ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, widely seen as Iran's second most powerful figure behind Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

7x彩票网平台Khamenei, 80, wept in grief with hundreds of thousands of mourners thronging the streets of Tehran at Soleimani's funeral on Monday.

Word of the letter came a day after Iran's demand for U.S. forces to withdraw from the region gained traction when Iraq's parliament passed a resolution calling for all foreign troops to leave the country.

7x彩票网平台To view a pdf of the letter, click http://static.reuters.com/resources/media/editorial/20200106/letter.pdf

The letter said U.S.-led coalition forces would be using helicopters to evacuate. Several were heard flying over Baghdad on Monday night, although it was not immediately clear if that was a related development.

7x彩票网平台"There's been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq," Esper told Pentagon reporters when asked about the letter, adding there were no plans issued to prepare to leave.

7x彩票网平台"I don't know what that letter is ... We're trying to find out where that's coming from, what that is. But there's been no decision made to leave Iraq. Period."

The letter caused confusion about the future of U.S. forces in Iraq. The United States has about 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

The top U.S. military officer told reporters the letter was a poorly worded draft document meant only to underscore increased movement by U.S. forces.

7x彩票网平台"Poorly worded, implies withdrawal. That's not what's happening," said U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, stressing there was no withdrawal being planned.

The authenticity of the letter, which was addressed to the Iraqi Defense Ministry's Combined Joint Operations Baghdad and signed by a U.S. general, had been confirmed to Reuters by an Iraqi military source.

7x彩票网平台Esper added the United States was still committed to countering Islamic State in Iraq, alongside America's allies and partners.

7x彩票网平台"Sir, in deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement," the letter stated.

7x彩票网平台It was signed by U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General William Seely III, commanding general of the U.S.-led military coalition against Islamic State.

CJTF-OIR stands for Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve.

7x彩票网平台"We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure," the letter said.

Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi told the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad on Monday that both nations needed to implement the Iraqi parliamentary resolution, the premier's office said in a statement. It did not give a timeline.

THRONGS IN TEHRAN

Khamenei led prayers at the funeral in the Iranian capital, pausing as his voice cracked with emotion. Soleimani, 62, was a national hero in Iran, even to many who do not consider themselves supporters of Iran's clerical rulers.

Aerial footage showed people, many clad in black, packing thoroughfares and side streets in Tehran, chanting: "Death to America!" - a show of national unity after anti-government protests in November in which many demonstrators were killed.

The crowd, which state media said numbered in the millions, recalled the masses of people that gathered in 1989 for the funeral of the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The killing of Soleimani has prompted concern around the world that a broader regional conflict could flare.

7x彩票网平台Trump vowed on Saturday to strike 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites, if Iran retaliates with attacks on Americans or U.S. assets, and stood by his threat on Sunday, although American officials sought to downplay his reference to cultural targets. The 52 figure, Trump noted, matched the number of U.S. Embassy hostages held for 444 days after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

7x彩票网平台Graphic on 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis - http://graphics.reuters.com/IRAQ-SECURITY/0100B4V42NX/IRAQ-SECURITY.jpg

7x彩票网平台Responding to Trump's vow, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani wrote on 7x彩票网平台 on Monday: "Never threaten the Iranian nation." Soleimani's successor vowed to expel U.S. forces from the Middle East in revenge.

Rouhani, regarded as a moderate, responded to Trump on 7x彩票网平台.

7x彩票网平台"Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655," Rouhani wrote, referring to the 1988 shooting down of an Iranian airline by a U.S. warship in which 290 were killed.

7x彩票网平台Trump also took to 7x彩票网平台 to reiterate the White House stance that "Iran will never have a nuclear weapon," but gave no other details.

Washington blamed Soleimani for attacks on U.S. forces and their allies.

General Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani's successor as commander of the Quds Force, the elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards charged with overseas operations, promised to "continue martyr Soleimani's cause as firmly as before with the help of God, and in return for his martyrdom we aim to rid the region of America."

7x彩票网平台"God the Almighty has promised to take martyr Soleimani's revenge," he told state television. "Certainly, actions will be taken."

Other political and military leaders have made similar, unspecific threats. Iran, which lies at the mouth of the key Gulf oil shipping route, has a range of proxy forces in the region through which it could act.

7x彩票网平台Iran stoked tensions on Sunday by dropping all limitations on its uranium enrichment, another step back from commitments under a landmark deal with major powers in 2015 to curtail its nuclear program that Trump abandoned in 2018.

France's foreign minister said the substance of the accord was slowly disappearing and European powers would decide in coming days whether to launch a dispute resolution process that could lead to a reinstatement of U.N. sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the deal.

Pentagon chief denies U.S. leaving Iraq; Tehran crowds mourn commander
 

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Comments
Paul Manefee Jan 06, 2020 6:47PM ET
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Iran/China/Russia/North Korea/Syria = They all have their “Supreme Leader” = Authoritarian Regime = Mafia Government
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 6:05PM ET
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The daughter of dirt wants our blood? I wouldn't miss her either...
Chris Sundo Jan 06, 2020 4:21PM ET
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What kind of god do these Iranians have that promotes death? That kind of god is not sustainable! Education will help you see the light. Study harder!
simon Sun Jan 06, 2020 4:21PM ET
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They believe in Satan, not God
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 4:21PM ET
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Radicalized religion. Can't put the name of faith here as it was rejected. I wonder if Christianity can? IF you see it. you'll know some of us are silenced by faith.
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 4:21PM ET
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What'd I tell you ?
Chris Sundo Jan 06, 2020 3:54PM ET
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Ridiculous .. Who are those Iranians who are pretending to be grieving over a ****and **** -- And who are the press here reporting this with a twist of blaming the brave who ridded the world of one more organized crime figure? Taking out this person was necessary.
rob finch Jan 06, 2020 3:54PM ET
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They aren't pretending. They were told to grieve. It's not optional.
Jerry Yu Jan 06, 2020 2:46PM ET
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LOL... Supreme leader... what a title in this universe. Who is more Supreme, the rocket boy or this Persian emperor dreamer? LOL....
alvlaj Jan 06, 2020 12:19PM ET
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I dont mourn this guy’s death at all, but the scary thing is this. If you think Trump’s base are blind fanatics, wait til you see the emboldened Iranians.
Me comment Jan 06, 2020 11:15AM ET
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May as well just nuke Iran, Iraq, Lybia and the rest to get it over with.
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 11:15AM ET
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HiMe, where's the poetic touch?
Matthew VS Jan 06, 2020 10:28AM ET
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The next bomb will fall directly on this sand monky's head. Look out you POS!
Jerry Yu Jan 06, 2020 10:26AM ET
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Democrats is leveraging this incident endlessly now to brainwash Americans. Who cares now. This is end of the story. Iran issue is not new. Iran has already declared war under the table decades ago. Why is this so surprise? Wake up, Americans. Do not be like the Sleepy Joe.
Howl Jenkins Jan 06, 2020 9:39AM ET
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Guess what? They never abided by the deal. Why do you think they refused to let international nuclear inspectors enter military facilities? Perhaps because of all the super secret advanced Iranian 23rd century space age technology? lmao
Ronnie Smith Jan 06, 2020 8:53AM ET
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Wonder whats in the box. I dont think there was anything left to put in a box.
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 8:53AM ET
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Too bad it's not the supreme leader... !
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 8:53AM ET
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Too bad the Sooprime leeder isn't in the box -
Vlad Lozovskiy Jan 06, 2020 8:42AM ET
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They report it, like someone nice died. Enough of this nonsense.? ****is dead.
Chris Sundo Jan 06, 2020 8:42AM ET
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Agree. The deceased was a low-life manipulator who made life worse for everyone and was planning more worse actions for peace. -- Good riddance.
rob finch Jan 06, 2020 8:32AM ET
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You are very brave Holly. Risking a drone strike to tell us this. At least in your own mind. TDS is real. There is help.
Chris Sundo Jan 06, 2020 8:32AM ET
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What is TDS?
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 8:32AM ET
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Chris Sundosorry. a slip
Holly Sorensen Jan 06, 2020 7:54AM ET
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trump is a criminal and a rogue president and is a grave danger to everyone . They should 25th ammendment immediately!
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 7:54AM ET
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I can't imagine you've ever read the constitution and of you did, comprehension was clearly not an objective - poor naive person...
Chris Sundo Jan 06, 2020 7:54AM ET
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I agree with Holly partly. I see it as a gang war: one criminal (Donald) takes out another criminal. The deceased drone victims were religious fanatics. We all agree that when religious fanatics all die there will be peace in the M.E. --- It takes many consecutive lives for religious fananatics to see the futility of their beliefs. Time and Education is the only hope to stamp out the evil of religious fanaticism.
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 7:54AM ET
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Can't agree with the beginning of your statement at all.
Silverbug 19 Jan 06, 2020 7:42AM ET
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Millions of innocents killed since Clinton. No tears till now?
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 7:42AM ET
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They and their ilk do it for what they consider justifiable whether they use religion as a crutch or any excuse they wish. That guy was no better/different than Osama or Baghdadi -
Jerry Yu Jan 06, 2020 7:24AM ET
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From all the news about this incident which Democrats promoted, we can clearly see how evil Iran administration is. They are showing that it is all truth that Iran is behind all the middle east mess and they are plotting to harm America and the world which is just a matter of time. So, in this case, all these results are logical now and inevitable. Therefore Democrats should put down the internal fight and work together to win this war which has already declared years ago, and declared when they attack the embassy, the ship and oil field. Wake up, American.
Sidney Glover Jan 06, 2020 7:24AM ET
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no imagination in picking a name but a wild notion of reality? go back read history and get back to reality. the crusades continue to enrich the corrupt and religions. the mess in middle east was and is being caused by the rich on all sides. only the innocent children suffer. to honor the rules here i will keep condemnation civil for you. let go of the fairy tales
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 7:24AM ET
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You're a dreamer aren't you? I see the word "notion" used. It reminds me of previous presidency ther tje words was used often - did you learn this word there?
Sidney Glover Jan 06, 2020 7:24AM ET
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chris, there goes your lack of independence. how much are the russian masters paying you? used to $2 a post. i am independent libertarian educated beyond your notions. get over your fantasies and potions. what is that you use to betray our country? i am a tee- toter so please go have my share and sit down boomer
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 7:24AM ET
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Sidney GloverYou should have joined the service where they might have made a man of you rather than your very adt the sky attitude.
William Smith Jan 06, 2020 7:07AM ET
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They've been chanting "death to America" for decades. Obama gave them the cash needed to spread havoc throughout the region. Then Obama and Kerry gave them the free reign to developed a nuclear weapon. Hopefully its not to late to stop them.
Believe Raymond Jan 06, 2020 7:03AM ET
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Huh it's sounds like war will restricted from Iran.
David Wong Jan 06, 2020 6:39AM ET
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Trump poked the Hornet's nest....worldwide markets in red and VIX up 12%. Maybe the Hornet's sting will tip US in recession mode.
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 6:39AM ET
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You got a hornet's nest in your head pal. Tell another prophetic tale...
DMEHTA Jan 06, 2020 6:28AM ET
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Potus goal oil 100 +
Chris Martin Jan 06, 2020 6:28AM ET
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Don't think you know what that means -
Chris Sundo Jan 06, 2020 6:23AM ET
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Time to unload at-risk financial assets. Safe havens ..
Kevin smarte Jan 06, 2020 6:10AM ET
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time to un load full force of USA been wussy footing around with iran too long
 
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