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Iran's leader says he wants US out of the Middle East

Tehran — Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that the US should leave the Middle East after the US killing of a top Iranian military general last week.

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"An important incident has taken place," Khamenei said in a televised speech in Iran, after Iran attacked two US military bases in Iraq on Wednesday. "The issue of revenge is something else. The Americans brought war, sedition and ruins - the negotiation and sitting behind tables is a prelude for their interference which should end."

Iranian state TV said Tehran had made the attacks in Iraq in retaliation for last week's US drone strike in Baghdad that killed General Qassem Soleimani. Bases in Ain al Asad and Erbil were attacked, a spokesman for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said, according to Tasnim news agency.

"What matters is that the US presence in the region that creates corruption ends," Khamenei said.

"Now, what's our duty? An important incident has taken place after all. The issue of revenge is something else. Last night, they were hit by a slap. This is a separate thing. Such military actions don't suffice it as far as the importance of retaliation is concerned."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the Iranian Cabinet on Wednesday that Iran wants the US to leave the Middle East region. "If the US feet is cut from this region, and its aggressive hand is cut forever, it will be the real revenge and final response of the nations in the region to the US," Rouhani said, according to state television.

--Aresu Eqbali, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by Claudia Carpenter, claudia.carpenter@spglobal.com