US President Donald Trump on Sunday vowed "major retaliation" if Tehran launches attacks to avenge the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
US President Donald Trump on Sunday vowed "major retaliation" if Tehran launches attacks to avenge the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, ratcheting up fears of a spiralling conflict. Trump, speaking on Air Force One on his way back to Washington, also said he would impose "very big sanctions" on Iraq if it follows through on a parliament vote in support of US troops being expelled from the country amid anger over the death of Soleimani in a drone strike near Baghdad's international airport.
On Sunday, Iraq’s parliament voted to expel the US military from the country. The lawmakers voted in favour of a resolution that mandates to end the presence of military of any other country in Iraq. With almost 5,000 US troops stationed in Iraq, the resolution seeks United States to withdraw its military.
The resolution comes after a US airstrike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani inside Iraq, dramatically increasing regional tensions.
Earlier, the United States had sent troops to Iraq more than four years ago to help in the fight against the Islamic State group.
The resolution was backed by most Shiite members of parliament, who hold a majority of seats. Many Sunni and Kurdish legislators did not show up for the session, apparently because they oppose abolishing the deal.
Earlier, Iran announced that it will no longer abide by the 2015 Nuclear deal. According to the 2015 Nuclear Deal, which is officially called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and five permanent members of the security council plus Germany, Iran had agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium. It also was required to cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for next 13 years.
Soleimani, 62, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force and architect of its regional security apparatus, was killed when a US drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport early on Friday. The strike also killed the deputy chief of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force.