In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, President Donald Trump specifically signalled his readiness to keep US troops in Iraq to keep an eagle eye on Iran.
Referring to the huge sums of money that are being spent on the US military base in Iraq, Trump made clear that one of the reasons he wants to keep it is "to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem".
He also described Iran as a "vicious country that kills many people".
When asked if he meant that he wanted to launch a strike on Iran, Trump said, "No, because I want to be able to watch Iran."
"All I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It's perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up," he underscored.
During the interview, Trump also defied previous US intelligence conclusions that Tehran actually complies with the Iran nuclear deal.
"I disagree with them. I have intel people, but that doesn't mean I have to agree," Trump said.
The interview came after his surprise visit to Iraq late last year during which he said he has no plans to withdraw US troops from Iraq, as military facilities there could be used to stage attacks on Daesh* militants.
Earlier, the POTUS said that some US forces moving out of Syria will go to the base in Iraq and "ultimately some will be coming home." The US troops' withdrawal from Syria was announced by Trump in December 2018.
The White House's move to leave the JCPOA was not supported by other signatories to the deal — China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union — which insisted that Iran was holding up its part of the deal.
*Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.