U.S. shuts down consulate in Iraq's Basra citing Iranian 'threats'

U.S. orders evacuation of diplomats from Iraqi city of Basra, citing threats from Iran

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Saturday regretted that United States has made a decision to pull its diplomats from Iraq's southern city of Basra.

The United States has chose to close its consulate in the Iraqi city of Basra over security concerns, two US officials told Reuters on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In the 1980s, the US-backed government of Iraq fought a long and bloody war against Iran that ended in a stalemate.

"Threats to our personnel and facilities in Iraq from the government of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, and from militias facilitated by and under the control and direction of the Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani have increased over the past several weeks", Pompeo said.

Iraqi protesters burn the Iranian Consulate in Basra in early September.

The State Department will close the US consulate in Basra, Iraq, and evacuate the diplomats stationed there, citing security risks from Iran, according to administration officials.

In a written statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Iran did not act to stop "attacks by its proxies in Iraq, which it has supported with funding, training and weapons".

Earlier this month, protesters in Basra set alight government and political buildings, including the Iranian consulate and the headquarters of an Iran-backed paramilitary force, after a number of people were killed in clashes with police. It is the country's oil capital and main port but remains one of the least developed parts of the country.

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Ruled by Shiite clerics, Iran has a strong influence in Iraq, especially in the country's Shiite-majority south.

Hundreds of anti-government protests have descended on the city of Basra since beginning of July. We are exhausted of their corruption.

"We want to change them", he added. He blamed Iranian militias for "indirect fire" against the USA consulate.

He warned that Washington would hold Tehran directly responsible for any such attacks.

The decision, which followed rocket attacks and violent protests in the crumbling port city, could increase tensions between the us and Iran.

Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China are trying to save the nuclear deal by providing Iran economic relief, adding to tensions between global powers and the United States as it ramps up pressure on Tehran.

"They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations".

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