WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton said Sunday the United States will maintain a strong
security relationship with Iraq despite the scheduled pullout
of all U.S. troops and warned Iran not to try to exploit the
"No one should miscalculate America's resolve and
commitment to helping support the Iraqi democracy," Clinton
said on the NBC program "Meet the Press." "We have paid too
high a price to give the Iraqis this chance. And I hope that
Iran and no one else miscalculates that."
Clinton, speaking on the program "Fox News Sunday," added
that Iraq "is a sovereign, independent nation with whom we have
very good relations. And we expect to have a continuing strong
security relationship for many years to come."
After months of negotiations with officials in Baghdad
failed to reach an agreement to keep possibly thousands of U.S.
troops in Iraq as trainers, U.S. President Barack Obama
announced on Friday he would stick to plans to pull out the
remaining force of 40,000 American troops by year's end.
The announcement was a milestone more than 8 1/2 years
after the Bush administration led the invasion to topple Saddam
Hussein based on warnings of weapons of mass destruction that
turned out not to exist.
"What we've agreed to is a support and training mission
similar to what we have in countries from Jordan to Colombia.
And we will be working with the Iraqis. We will also have a
very robust diplomatic presence," Clinton said.
Iran already is at odds with Washington and other Western
governments over its nuclear ambitions and Clinton warned
Tehran against trying to exert its influence in neighboring
"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," she said on the CNN program "State of the Union"
(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Bill Trott)
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