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Iraq 'could mediate to stop US war on Iran'

IRAQ offered to mediate between Washington and Tehran today at a joint press conference given by the Iraqi and Iranian foreign ministers.

Iraq’s Mohamed Ali al-Hakim said Baghdad opposes the US threats of war and imposition of sanctions on Iran.

“The sanctions against sisterly Iran are ineffective and we stand by its side,” he declared.

Iraqi President Barham Salih discussed “the need to prevent war or escalation” with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, his office said.

Sweeping US sanctions imposed unilaterally on Iran after President Donald Trump walked away from the nuclear deal negotiated with the country by the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union have hit Iranians hard. The fallout has also had a damaging effect on Iraq’s economy, since many Shi’ite pilgrims travel from Iran to Iraq to visit various holy sites each year.

Mr Zarif said European countries should be doing more to stand up for the deal that they helped negotiate.

The US claims that Iranian forces have been threatening its troops in the Middle East, though the assertion has been denied by the British deputy commander of the US-led coalition tasked with fighting Isis in Iraq and Syria, who said there was no evidence of a higher threat than before.

The US has dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf and announced last week that it was sending 1,500 more soldiers to the region.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has joined the war of words against Iran.

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