The vote in Parliament, after the U.S. killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran in Baghdad, is not final until Iraq’s prime minister signs the bill.
By Alissa J. Rubin,
BAGHDAD — Lawmakers in Iraq voted on Sunday to require the government to end the presence of American troops in the country after the United States ordered the killing of the Iranian leader of the elite Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, on Iraqi soil.
The decision to heed the demands of angry Shiite factions and politicians came as hundreds of thousands of mourners poured into the streets of Iran to pay their respects to General Suleimani, the most powerful figure in the country after the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The vote is not final until Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi of Iraq signs the bill. But since he drafted the language and submitted the bill to Parliament, there was little doubt he would sign it.
Although the vote was 170-0 in Parliament, many of its 328 members, primarily Kurds and Sunnis, did not attend the session and did not vote, showing the division in Parliament on the demands to oust American troops. While groups that grew out of Shiite militia organizations have pushed hard for the expulsion, Sunni Muslim factions and the Kurds wanted the United States to stay.
The legislation threads a fine needle: While using strong language demanding that the government “end any foreign presence on Iraqi soil and prevent the use of Iraqi airspace, soil and water for any reason” by foreign forces, it gives no timetable for doing so.
It would end the mission approved in 2014 that gave the United States the explicit task of helping the Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State. That agreement gave the Americans substantial latitude to launch attacks and use Iraqi airspace. But the measure would leave in place the Strategic Framework Agreement, which allows an American troop presence in Iraq in some form.
On Sunday, the American-led coalition in Iraq and Syria announced that it would pause its yearslong mission of fighting the Islamic State and training local forces in both countries. A pullout of the estimated 5,200 American troops could cripple the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS, and could allow its resurgence.
In Iraq, the attack was seen as a violation of the nation’s sovereignty. On Sunday, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said it had summoned the American ambassador in Baghdad. In Iran, it was viewed as tantamount to an act of war. Hossein Dehghan, a military adviser to Mr. Khamenei, told CNN that Iran’s response would include an attack on “U.S. military targets.”
As the Middle East braced for Iranian retaliation, which analysts said was all but inevitable and American officials said they expected within weeks, Tehran and Washington ratcheted up the rhetoric.
Members of Iran’s Parliament chanted, “Death to America!” en masse in the chamber on Sunday in protest over General Suleimani’s killing, television footage showed.
The chants came as Mr. Trump fired off a series of Twitter ripostes to the growing anger, including that the United States had pinpointed 52 targets in Iran, including cultural sites, if there were any retaliation for the killing. He said the sites represented the 52 American hostages “taken by Iran many years ago” at the United States Embassy.
That led Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to respond on Twitter that “targeting cultural sites is a war crime.” He said that the “end of U.S. malign presence in West Asia has begun.”
Iran summoned the Swiss envoy representing American interests in Tehran on Sunday to protest Mr. Trump’s threat that Washington would target Iranian sites. And Mr. Trump’s tweet became a rallying cry among Iranians sharing it widely on social media and phone applications with the message, “Attend the funeral for our cultural heritage.”