Former US Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain has said the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq is a 'victory for Iran.'
"It's hard to see the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq as anything but a win for Iran," McCain said on Tuesday.
The US Senator expressed concern over what he called the Iranian influence in Iraq, adding, "While there are certainly limits to this influence, the fact remains that Iran's number one priority this year was to get all US troops out of Iraq. They will now accomplish that goal," Ha'aretz reported.
McCain warned that the withdrawal indicates a "failure of leadership -- both Iraqi and American" that brings "serious negative consequences on the stability of Iraq and the national security interests of the United States.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta dismissed McCain's remarks, saying, We have more than 40,000 American troops that remain in the Gulf region. We're not going anywhere."
Earlier in October, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced his country's opposition to granting immunity to any US troops remaining in Iraq beyond an agreed year-end deadline.
Around 47,000 US troops are currently deployed in Iraq, all of whom must leave the country by the end of 2011 under the terms of a 2008 bilateral security agreement between Washington and Baghdad.
The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) also forced Washington to end its combat operations in Iraq in August 2010.
Over one million Iraqis have been killed during the US-led invasion of Iraq, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.