Oct. 23 - U.S. Secretary of State warns Iran not to expolit the U.S. pullout of Iraq. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told NBC's Meet the Press that United States will maintain a strong security relationship with Iraq despite the scheduled pullout of all U.S. troops and warned Iran not to try to exploit the situation. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying (English): "No one should miscalculate America's resolve and commitment to helping support the Iraqi democracy. We have paid too high a price to give the Iraqis this chance. And I hope that Iran and no one else miscalculates that." After months of negotiations with officials in Baghdad failed to reach an agreement to keep possibly thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq as trainers, U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Friday he would stick to plans to pull out the remaining force of 40,000 American troops by year's end The announcement was a milestone more than 8 1/2 years after the Bush administration led the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein based on warnings of weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist. Iran already is at odds with Washington and other Western governments over its nuclear ambitions and Clinton warned Tehran against trying to exert its influence in neighboring Iraq. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying (English): "Well, I think Iran should look at the region. We may not be leaving military bases in Iraq, but we have bases elsewhere. We have support and training assets elsewhere. We have a NATO ally in Turkey. You know, the United States is very present in the region. But let's also admit that Iran has influence in Iraq. Always has, always will. Clinton was also asked whether the war in Iraq, which she supported as a U.S. senator was worth it -- she said would leave it to history to decide the merits and demerits of US foreign policy over the past decade. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters