President Donald Trump (Picture: PA).
USA

Trump: US Troops To Stay In Iraq To 'Watch Iran'

The US President said he wants to keep troops in the country because "Iran is a real problem".

President Donald Trump (Picture: PA).

President Trump previously announced US soldiers will be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Syria (Picture: PA).

US President Donald Trump says he will keep troops in Iraq so he can "watch Iran", a country he described as "a real problem".

In an interview with CBS' 'Face The Nation' programme, President Trump outlined why US troops will be staying in the country, highlighting the "fortune" spent on building a base, believed to be a reference to the Al Assad airbase. 

He said: "We spent a fortune building this incredible base, we might as well keep it.

"And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran, because Iran is a real problem."

A US Army soldier carries a 155mm artillery shell on Firebase Saham, Iraq, 021218 Op Inherent Resolve CREDIT DVIDS
President Trump met US personnel in Iraq in December (Picture: US Department of Defense).

A US Army soldier carries a 155mm artillery shell on Firebase Saham, Iraq, during Op Inherent Resolve (Picture: US Department of Defense).

He said he does not want to keep the base to be able to strike Iran but to "be able to watch" the country, adding the base is "perfectly situated" for "looking" at all areas of the "troubled Middle East".

Last year, the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and President Trump said the decision means: "If somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we're going to know it before they do."

President Trump previously announced US soldiers will be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Syria - a decision which resulted in the resignation of Defence Secretary James Mattis

James Mattis
James Mattis resigned in December, a day after President Trump said he was pulling American troops out of Syria (Picture: US Department of Defense).

President Trump told the programme that intelligence will be left in Afghanistan and if is there is a resurgence of extremists following a withdrawal, the US "will come back if we have to".

On Syria, President Trump said: "When I took over Syria it was infested with ISIS. It was all over the place.

"And now you have very little ISIS and you have the caliphate almost knocked out.

"We will be announcing in the not too distant future 100 per cent of the caliphate which is the area - the land - the area - 100.

"We're at 99 per cent right now, we'll be at 100. When I took it over it was a disaster."

President Trump with Kim Jong Un at their first summit (Picture: PA).
President Trump with Kim Jong Un at their first summit (Picture: PA).

He also spoke about the continued talks between the US and North Korea, stating there is a "very good chance" that a deal will be made over denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

It comes as diplomats from both nations met in South Korea as talks over a second meeting between the two leaders later this month continue.