"There is no signed letter, to the best of my knowledge", Esper added.
General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and a number of their entourage were killed in the strike by American drones near Baghdad International Airport in the early hours of Friday. "It did not cause more security, but more uncertainty".
"Sir, in deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement", reads the letter.
The letter also said helicopters would be travelling in and around the Green Zone as part of the preparations.
But its existence continued to ripple through Iraqi and U.S. politics, with no explanation of why it was circulated.
"We are taking the necessary preventive measures to protect our personnel".
The message, published by Iraqi media, was talking about redeployment of the worldwide coalition's troops that was widely interpreted as a withdrawal announcement. "The expressions were very clear", he said.
Pick your poison: The potential Iranian responses to United States drone strike
Writing on Twitter , she added, "Our priority must be to avoid another costly war". The U.S.is telling Americans to get out of the country of Iraq .
The letter emerged after the Iraqi parliament voted on Sunday to expel all foreign troops from the country, following the United States assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport on Friday, and several clashes between American forces and Iranian-backed militia groups in the weeks beforehand.
In a brief interaction with reporters at the Oval Office of the White House, Mr. Trump said at some point the US will want to get out of Iraq. "Period", the U.S. defense secretary said, one day after the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of ordering the USA military out.
On Tuesday, about 30,000 people thronged the streets of Basra waving Iraqi and militia flags and chanting "No, no America!" and "No, no Israel!".
The UK has called for an urgent deescalation as tensions continued to mount in the Middle East after the top Iranian general was assassinated by a USA drone on Friday. "There's no decision to leave, nor did we issue any plans to leave or prepare to leave".
"They weren't there to discuss a vacation".
It came in reaction to a USA precision drone strike on Baghdad that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and top Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, among others. "We're not leaving unless they pay us back for it".
Iraq's United Nations ambassador Mohammed Hussein Bahr Aluloom issued a letter to the security council on Monday, calling the air strike "a risky escalation that might ignite a devastating war in Iraq, the region and the world".
"The Kurdistan Region views the support of the International Coalition in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region in confronting terror as a necessity, the regional president, prime minister, and parliament speaker said in a joint statement". It will require the regime to come to the table with the goal of preventing further bloodshed.