President Donald Trump on Thursday said US companies were involved in many prospects in Iraq's oil business, as Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi declared his country open for American business and investment.
Trump told reporters before a meeting with the Iraqi leader that the US military had very few troops in Iraq and looked forward to the day when it did not have to be there, but would help the country if neighboring Iran should do anything.
Al-Kadhimi took office in April, becoming the third Iraq head of state in a chaotic 10-week period that followed months of deadly protests in the country, which has been exhausted by decades of sanctions, war, corruption and economic challenges.
The meeting comes amid a new spike in tensions between the United States and Iran after Washington said it would move to reinstate all US sanctions on Iran at the United Nations.
Washington is pushing to extend a UN-imposed arms embargo against Iran that is due to expire in October under Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.
Five US firms, including Chevron Corp, signed agreements on Wednesday with the Iraqi government aimed at boosting Iraq's energy independence from Iran.
The US Department of Energy said in a statement that Honeywell International Inc, Baker Hughes Co, General Electric Co, Stellar Energy and Chevron signed commercial agreements worth as much as $8 billion with the Iraqi ministers of oil and electricity.
The agreements were signed following a meeting of the Iraqi ministers with US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, as well as a roundtable in Washington on Wednesday with the Iraqi prime minister and the US energy industry.