BAGHDAD, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Wednesday that his country wants to "distance itself" from the conflict between the United States and Iran.
Iraq wants to maintain a "balance" in its relations with both Washington and Tehran, Abadi said in his televised speech at the Iraq Energy Forum in Baghdad.
"Such policy is in favor of Baghdad interest," Abadi said, adding that "Baghdad hopes that the United States would not withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran," that aimed at restraining Iran's nuclear program.
Abadi's comments were referred to the tensions between Washington and Tehran in the region, including the threat of the U.S. President Donald Trump to scuttle the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal unless amendments are made to it.
Abadi also said that Iraq was facing "existential threat" by the terrorist Islamic State (IS) militant group, which threatened to collapse the Iraqi state, but the Iraqis defeated this terrorist group with its "deviant and dangerous ideology which still exists and our efforts are continuing to eliminate this danger."
"As we are dismantling the terrorist (IS) cells in one hand, after the liberation of the entire Iraqi territories, we are building (our country) by the other hand," Abadi told the forum.
In addition, Abadi said that Iraq has "good oil and gas reserves, and despite the war (against terrorism), our production has not been reduced," adding that Iraq is working hard to give its oil wealth an aiding role in building its economy, not to entirely depend on it.
Iraq has proven oil reserves of 153 billion barrels, and its economy relies on oil for over 90 percent of its revenues.
Since the 2003 toppling of the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Iranian-backed Shiite leading parties have often been accused of being under the heavy influence of Iran. However, Iraq's balance policy between those Washington and Tehran has been a challenge to all post 2003 Iraqi governments, as those two countries have always been at odds over different issues in the Middle East region.