Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's media office expressed surprise on Monday at comments by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's regarding Iranian-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization paramilitary units.
"No party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters," Abadi's media office said in a statement citing a source close to the prime minister. Tillerson said on Sunday it was time for Iranian-backed militias and their Iranian advisers who helped Iraq defeat Daesh to "go home."
Tillerson told Saudi King Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that the nascent partnership between their countries held great promise for Iraq's reconstruction after devastating battles to wrest territory from the Daesh group and its independence from foreign influence.
"We believe this will in some ways counter some of the unproductive influences of Iran inside of Iraq," he said at a news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir after the council meeting.