Erbil, Kurdistan Region — Amid building diplomatic and verbal tensions between the United States and Iran, Iraq’s top leader isn’t taking sides, as both countries released readouts from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and US President Donald Trump’s first official telephone call.
“Both leaders spoke to the threat Iran presents across the entire region,” the White House readout released Saturday stated, naming Iraq’s eastern neighbor.
The Iraqi leader was more reserved.
“Also addressed was the regional situation where Dr. Al-Abadi stressed that Iraq is a sovereign state with national constitutional institutions and is dealing with countries not on the basis of interference in internal affairs,” a readout on the prime minister’s website stated.
Earlier this week, Trump had taken to Twitter to declare Iran “#1 in terror” and criticize former US President Barack Obama for his landmark nuclear deal with Iran.
Additionally, reports surfaced that Trump was set to direct the state department to specifically add Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Muslim Brotherhood to US’s terrorism list.
Iran is already designated a “state sponsor of terror” by the US, and its government and agencies, including the IRGC, are subject to sanctions.
But US security officials reportedly pushed back citing expected fallout in Iraq, where Iran is a key ally of the Islamic Dawa Party-backed Abadi in the war against ISIS.
Trump was asked in a brief appearance in the press cabin aboard Air Force One about President Hassan Rouhani reported remarks — anyone who speaks to Iranians with threats would regret it — at a rally in Tehran to celebrate the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
“He better be careful,” Trump said on Friday.