Khamenei Says Iraq Can Play ‘Special Role’ in Pressuring US, Israel

06 November 2023, Iran, Tehran: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (R) and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (L) meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and an accompanying delegation. (Iranian Supreme Leader's Office/dpa)
06 November 2023, Iran, Tehran: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (R) and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (L) meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and an accompanying delegation. (Iranian Supreme Leader's Office/dpa)
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Khamenei Says Iraq Can Play ‘Special Role’ in Pressuring US, Israel

06 November 2023, Iran, Tehran: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (R) and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (L) meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and an accompanying delegation. (Iranian Supreme Leader's Office/dpa)
06 November 2023, Iran, Tehran: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (R) and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (L) meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and an accompanying delegation. (Iranian Supreme Leader's Office/dpa)

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Monday Iraq can play a “special role” in the region by coordinating with Iran to increase political pressure on the US and Israel to end the war in Gaza.

He made his comments during a meeting in Tehran with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, who headed to Iran less than 24 hours after meeting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Baghdad. It was unclear whether the PM was carrying a US message to Tehran.

Blinken visited Iraq amid growing US concern about an uptick in attacks by pro-Iranian Iraqi armed groups on its bases in Iraq and Syria since the conflict in Israel broke out on Oct. 7.

Several political parties in Iraq have called on the government to sever diplomatic ties with Washington.

“As an important country in the region, Iraq can play a major role in putting political pressure on the US and the occupying regime to stop the massacre of people in Gaza and also in starting a new approach in the Arab and Muslim world,” Khamenei said during his meeting with the Iraqi PM.

He praised Iraq for the strong stance it has taken in supporting the people of Gaza.

He then noted that from the very first days of the Israeli attacks, all evidence pointed to the direct involvement of the US in the war. “The longer the current war goes on, the evidence showing the direct role of the US in directing the crimes of the Zionist regime in Gaza becomes more pronounced,” he said.

Khamenei noted that the US weapon supplies and political support to Israel, saying “the Americans are truly accomplices of the Zionists in the crimes that are being committed in Gaza.”

Sudani’s office said the PM stressed to Khamenei that Iraq is making every effort to stop the aggression against Gaza and allow the entry of aid into the enclave.

He lashed out at the international community that “has abandoned about its responsibilities” and done nothing to stop “brutal crimes, genocide, forced displacement, and the policy of starvation against the Palestinians.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told state TV on Monday that, “Over the past three days, we received a message from the Americans that they are looking for a ceasefire ... but in practice they have only supported mass killing and genocide in Gaza.”

“We hope the US will soon change its policy and stop supporting the occupying party,” he said, according to the official IRNA website.

Sudani also met with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi in Tehran.

At a joint news conference with the PM, Raisi accused the United States and some European countries of “encouraging” Israel to kill and carry out “cruel acts” against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, reported AFP.

Raisi described the Israeli attacks as a “crime against humanity” and an example of mass genocide and infanticide.

“Unfortunately, the weapons, intelligence and financial aid of the Americans to the Zionist regime encourages killings and brutal actions against the Palestinian people,” he added.

Sudani, for his part, said Hamas’ Al-Aqsa Flood operation on October 7 was the outcome of Israel’s years of criminal policies against the oppressed people of Palestine.



Israel Carries Out New Raids in Gaza as Netanyahu Visits US 

This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
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Israel Carries Out New Raids in Gaza as Netanyahu Visits US 

This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)

Israeli forces carried out new raids in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to address the US Congress.

The latest Israeli attacks destroyed homes in towns east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and thousands of people were forced to head west to seek shelter, residents said.

The Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said it had received distress calls from residents trapped in their homes in Bani Suhaila, east of Khan Younis, but were unable to reach the town.

Israel's military, which is trying to eradicate the armed group Hamas after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, said it had been operating in areas from which fighters had been able to fire rockets into Israel and attack Israeli troops.

Gaza health officials said Israeli military strikes in the past 24 hours had killed at least 55 people, the latest casualties in a war that health authorities in the enclave say has killed more than 39,000 Palestinians.

"Where should we go? Shall we cross into the sea?" said Ghada, who has been displaced with her family six times during the war, said from Hamas City in northwestern Khan Younis.

"We are exhausted, starved, and want the war to end now, now not an hour later. Every day means more families are wiped off the registration book," she told Reuters via a chat app.

Local residents said they had been ordered to head west towards a designated humanitarian area, but that the area was now unsafe.

Israeli forces also carried out airstrikes on several areas of central and northern Gaza Strip, killing and wounding several Palestinians, health officials said.

Residents of Rafah, near the border with Egypt, said Israeli forces had blown up several houses in the west of the city.

PALESTINIANS CRITICISE U.S.

Hamas-led fighters triggered the war on Oct. 7 by storming into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 250 captives, according to Israeli tallies. Some 120 hostages are still being held though Israel believes one in three are dead.

Some Palestinians who gathered at a hospital in Khan Younis before funerals criticized the United States, Israel's most important international ally, for welcoming Netanyahu.

The Israel leader was due to address Congress later on Wednesday and to meet President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would meet Netanyahu in Florida on Friday.

"The United States is a main partner in what is happening in Gaza. We are being killed because of the United States. We are being slaughtered by American planes, American ships, American tanks, and American troops," said Kazem Abu Taha, a displaced resident from Rafah.

A senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters: "The Congress invitation to Netanyahu to make a speech gives legitimacy to the crimes of the war of genocide in Gaza. Receiving a war criminal is a shame to all Americans."

Israel has rejected accusations brought by South Africa at the UN's top court that its military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide campaign against Palestinians. It has reacted angrily to a decision by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor to seek an arrest warrant against Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said this week a deal to release Israelis held captive in Gaza could be near. But Hamas officials said Netanyahu was stalling and that they had not seen any change in the Israeli stance that would allow an agreement to be reached.

Hamas wants a ceasefire agreement to end the war in Gaza. Netanyahu says the war cannot end before Hamas is eradicated.