President Donald Trump vowed on Sunday night to punish Iraq if it expels U.S. troops from the country.
After the Iraqi parliament approved a non-binding resolution to remove all foreign troops, including American forces, Trump told reporters that the U.S. would ignore Iraq’s calls for removal due to the “extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there.”
“We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” he said, according to press pool reports. “If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever.”
“It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame,” he continued. “If there’s any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq.”
Iraq’s parliament voted for the resolution on Sunday in response to Trump’s drone strike on Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top military leader, on Friday.
“The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason,” the resolution read.
On Sunday, Trump also doubled down on his threat to destroy Iran’s cultural sites, which is classified as a war crime.
“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people,” he said. “And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”