Tehran has brushed off US calls to pull its forces out of Middle East countries, saying that it is the ‘enemy’ Washington who should go back home. It comes as Iran marks 40 years since the Islamic Revolution.
As the US’ own forces start to withdraw from Syria, Washington is increasingly worried that Tehran is getting too entrenched in the war-torn country. The US has repeatedly lambasted Iran for its presence in Syria, where Tehran maintains ‘military advisers.’
On Monday, the deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards fired back at Washington: “The enemy cannot ask us to leave the region. They must leave the region.”
“We will help any Muslim anywhere in the world,” Brigadier General Hossein Salami added.
It’s not the first time that Iran has rejected US demands to curb its ‘influence.’ Last week, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, warned: “Whether they want to or not, the Americans must leave Syria.”
Iran’s presence is Syria has been irking the US more and more ever since President Trump announced the pullout of 2000 troops from the country, where they’ve been since 2015. However, in a recent interview President Trump has said he wants to keep some forces in the region “to protect Israel” and “watch Iran.”
That said, the decision to pull out the majority of US troops caused backlash at home, where politicians across the partisan divide sounded the alarm that it will cause a resurgence of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and leave the country open to Iran and Russia.
Notably, military advisers from the Islamic Republic as well as the Russian military were both invited by Syria to help fight terrorism there. The presence of US troops, in turn, has been considered by Damascus “a violation of sovereignty.”
The US “conspiracy” against Tehran was also blasted by Iran’s president on Monday, as the country celebrates 40 years since the Islamic Revolution.
“The presence of people today on the streets all over Islamic Iran… means that the enemy will never reach its evil objectives,” President Hassan Rouhani told massive crowds on Tehran’s streets.
Marches are being held in cities all across Iran. In Tehran, chants of “Death to Israel, death to America” were accompanied by statements vowing loyalty to the supreme leader and calling President Trump an ‘idiot.’ Trump’s and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s faces also appeared on cardboard cutouts of dogs.
One banner read “Much to the dismay of America, the revolution has reached its 40th year.”
The day marks the end of royal rule in Iran, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini created the Islamic Republic in 1979.