TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Under no circumstances will Iraq allow the United States to use its bases in Iraq to launch an attack on neighboring Iran, Iraq’s President Barham Salih said.

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“We do not want our territory to be a staging post for any hostile action against any of our neighbors, including Iran,” Salih said in an interview with CNN in London on Tuesday.

“This is definitely not part of the agreement between the Iraqi government and the United States.”

In an interview with CBS in February, US President Donald Trump said that “one of the reasons” he wanted to keep a base in Iraq was to “be looking a little bit at Iran, because Iran is a real problem.”

Elsewhere in his interview, Salih said he was truly concerned about the recent escalation of tensions between the US and Iran and its ramifications for Iraq.

He also welcomed Trump’s recent reported decision to cancel a strike on Iran, emphasizing that the region needs fundamental solutions rather than a war.

“Obviously we are happy that a war has been averted. This part of the world has been going through cycles of conflict for so many years. We don’t need another war and there is no military solution to this problem. There are serious problems afflicting regional order in the Middle East,” he said.

Salih also referred to social, cultural and economic ties that have bound Iraq and Iran for centuries, saying it is actually impractical to separate the two nations.

“To expect Iraq to basically separate itself from Iran with 1,400 kilometers of borders and the important social, religious, economic interests that bind Iraq and Iran together is just not practical,” he said.