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Trump wants U.S. military in Iraq to ‘watch Iran’ – CBS interview

Trump wants U.S. military in Iraq to ‘watch Iran’ – CBS interview

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference to mark six months since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in the White House East Room in Washington, U.S., June 29, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said it was important to keep a U.S. military

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference to mark six months since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in the White House East Room in Washington, U.S., June 29, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said it was important to keep a U.S. military presence in Iraq so that Washington can keep a close eye on Iran, according to a CBS interview to be broadcast on Sunday.

Trump said the United States spent a fortune on a base in Iraq. “We might as well keep it. One of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem,” he said in excerpts from a CBS “Face the Nation” interview.

Asked if that meant he wanted to be able to strike Iran, Trump said, “No, because I want to be able to watch Iran.”

“All I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It’s perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up.”

Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria but refused to provide a timetable for the pullout, which was criticized by members of his own Republican Party and caused concern among some allies in the region.

He said some of the forces moving out of Syria will go to the base in Iraq and “ultimately some will be coming home.”

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Lisa Shumaker

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