BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Jordan’s King Abdullah and the foreign ministers of France and Iran made separate visits on Monday to Iraq, an ally of Tehran, amid U.S. attempts to rally allies against the Islamic Republic as Washington starts withdrawing troops from neighboring Syria.
King Abdullah’s visit, his first since 2008, follows a week after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stopped off in both countries at the start of a Middle East tour meant to mobilize Arab countries against Iran and reassure them over the planned U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria.
But the planned withdrawal from Syria of 2,000 U.S. troops, announced by President Donald Trump last month, alarmed U.S. allies across the region, including Israel, which worries that the move could embolden Iran.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met Abdul Mahdi, Shi’ite Muslim political leaders and other officials on Sunday and Monday and said a visit by President Hassan Rouhani would follow in March, Iranian state news agencies reported.
The U.S. troop withdrawal has also alarmed Western allies who still see Islamic State as a threat, including France whose Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met Abdul Mahdi on Monday.
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