A U.S. diplomatic spokesperson remarked that "we are deeply concerned about any abuses by sectarian armed forces [in Iraq]. Many of those armed groups are aligned with Iran, which shares in the blame for their abuses, and which has used those groups to undermine Iraq's security, stability and sovereignty. [Qods force commander] Soleimani and his Qods force actively seek to use these armed groups to intimidate the Iraqi people and undermine the legitimate authority of Iraq's elected government". He also shared thoughts regarding President Rouhani's visit to Iraq earlier in the week, stating that "we respect Iraq's sovereign right to conduct its foreign relations for the benefit of the Iraqi people... we think it's a shame that Iraq's neighbours don't necessarily see it the same way". "The Iranian regime speaks of cooperation with Iraq", he continued, "but as the Secretary [of State] noted just yesterday, its actions are aimed at subverting Iraqi sovereignty, making Iraq dependent upon Iran and turning Iran into a vassal state".
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