TEHRAN, Jan. 24 (MNA) – Millions of Iraqi people convened in the capital city of Baghdad today to deplore the US military presence in the country.
According to Iraq’s local media, people from “all of the Iraqi provinces” have gathered in the ongoing rally to condemn the Americans’ illegal presence in the country, after the US assassinated top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad earlier this month.
The protesters are carrying banners and chanting slogans calling for the expulsion of US forces.
During the rallies, the Influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr lashed out at the United States for its illegal military presence in Iraq, saying, “If the US government does not agree to leave Iraq, it will be considered and treated as an occupying state and enemy.”
The demonstrators are planned to gather at the intersection of Baghdad University in the Jadriyah neighborhood.
Iraqis in Karbala city, south of Baghdad, were also seen boarding buses heading towards the capital.
The rally comes after influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraqis to stage “a million-strong, peaceful, unified demonstration to condemn the American presence and its violations” last week.
On January 5, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for the expulsion of all US-led forces in the country two days after Washington assassinated Soleimani and Muhandis.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council praised the Iraqi people’s massive turnout to the anti-US rallies that were held in Baghdad on Friday, saying Washington should await new displays of regional power.
Shamkhani hailed epic rallies in Baghdad against US illegal presenceRear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, in a statement, commended the Iraqi government, parliament, and nation for the epic demonstrations to deplore the US’ illegal military presence in the country.
He described the rally as a sign of Iraqis’ pioneering role in the expulsion of the Americans from the region.
Shamkhani said the Iraqis rallying in million showed that the US’ threat of sanctions has become nothing but a fruitless effort, which cannot undermine the will and unity of the nations that pursue their national sovereignty and independence.
“The countdown to the US’ expulsion from the region started on the early hours of Friday, January 3, and Washington is getting closer to the end of its presence in the region day by day,” he added.
The top Iranian security official was referring to the US assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes on January 3.
On January 5, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for the expulsion of all foreign forces after the US assassination of Iran’s senior Iranian and Iraqi commanders.
On January 7, Iran’s IRGC targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq after launching a wave of attacks to retaliate the terrorist move.
Today’s massive rally came after influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraqis to stage “a million-strong, peaceful, unified demonstration to condemn the American presence and its violations”.
Sadr issued a statement on Friday calling for US bases to be shut down and Iraqi airspace closed to US warplanes and surveillance aircraft.
He warned that US presence in the country will be dealt with as an occupying force if Washington does not agree with Iraqi demands to withdraw for the country.
Huge crowds of Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad on Friday to demand the ouster of US troops from the country.
The demonstration set off from al-Jadriyah and al-Karrada regions adjacent to the Green Zone in central Baghdad.
The demonstrators raised the national flags, chanted slogans rejecting the US presence on Iraqi soil and denounced the criminal actions committed by the US administration by targeting Iraqi military forces and resistance leaders.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi security forces have taken strict measures and cut a number of roads in central Baghdad in coincidence with the start of the massive demonstration, according to an Iraqi security source.
In statements to SANA correspondent in Baghdad, a number of demonstrators confirmed that the US military presence is the cause of all the dilemmas that Iraq is witnessing.
They demanded the immediate implementation of the Iraqi Parliament’s resolution which call for the expulsion of the US and foreign forces from all Iraqi lands.
This demonstration, according to demonstrators, represents a real popular referendum on the rejection of any US military presence in the country.
On January 5, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution bending the government to end the foreign presence in the country after the US crimes against Iraqi military headquarters and high ranking Iraqi and friendly resistance leaders.