U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has cautioned Iran not to misinterpret the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq as a sign of decreasing U.S. commitment to the fledgling democracy.
Clinton said the United States will continue its training mission with Iraq and that it would resemble operations in Colombia and elsewhere.
While the United States will not have combat troops in Iraq, she said the American presence would remain strong because of its bases in the region.
“Iran would be badly miscalculating if they did not look at the entire region and all of our presence in many countries in the region, both in bases, in training, with NATO allies, like Turkey,” she told CNN.
Clinton’s comments to U.S. media come days after U.S. President Barack Obama announced that all U.S. troops will return from Iraq by the end of the year.
He said the troop withdrawal would close a chapter in U.S.-Iraqi ties that began in 2003 with the U.S.-led invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Over the weekend, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying Tehran has “a very good relationship” with Iraq’s government, and said the relationship will continue to grow.