* Iraq rejects Tillerson comments on Iran-backed forces
* Iranian influence grows after Kurdish crisis
* Iran and Saudi Arabia in proxy war in Mideast
The Iraqi government dismissed a call from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for Iranian-backed paramilitary units that helped Baghdad defeat Islamic State and capture the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk to end operations in Iraq.
The paramilitary units have been expanding their reach to northern Iraq, supporting government forces which seized the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk one week ago in a lightning advance in retaliation for a referendum on independence.
Iraqi forces are deploying tanks and artillery just south of a Kurdish-operated oil pipeline that crosses into Turkey, a Kurdish security official said, the latest in a series of Iranian-backed operations against the Kurds.
Speaking after a meeting on Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Tillerson said it was time for the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation forces and their Iranian advisers to "go home".
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