By John Lee.
The Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal (pictured), has told reporters in Riyadh that “Iran is taking over Iraq.”
The comments were made during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry, in which Kerry said the United States was keeping an eye on Iran’s ‘destabilizing’ acts, adding that his country was aware of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani’s presence and activity in Iraq.
Soleimani is reportedly overseeing Shiite militias in the major offensive to expel Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants from the city of Tikrit, according to Al Arabiya News.
Responding to the claim, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told Reuters:
“Iran has supported Iraq but did not send armies to Iraq and did not interfere in Iraq’s sovereignty.
“We want relations with Saudi Arabia and with Iran … Our openness to Saudi Arabia does not mean our relations with other countries will flag … and this does not mean Iraq is becoming Persian.”
(Source: Al Arabiya News, Reuters)