America evacuated a consulate in Iraq…. And it has everything to do with Iran.
Why It Matters
A “While the United States has only one embassy and one ambassador in the capital of any foreign country, in large countries it may have several consulates.” (U.S. State Dept)
America maintains its embassy in Baghdad while the consulate in Basra (southern Iraq) is closed.
Protests & Threats
- Public protests vs. Iraqi gov’t have raged in Basra -A an oil rich region where Iraqi citizens don’t often have electricity or clean water. BasraA shares border with Iran.
- Protesters set fire to the Iranian consulate; Iran has close relationship with Iraqi gov’t.
- Iran blamed U.S. for protests & fired rockets at consulate (no one was injured) as recently as Friday.
“I have made clear that Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks.”
Sec. of State Mike Pompeo in a statement on the "temporary relocation" of U.S. diplomats in Iraq after squarely blaming Iran for attacks and threats against American lives. Pompeo said "incidents" have increased over the last several weeks in Basra and Baghdad.
Big Picture: Tensions High
- Iran vowed retaliation vs. U.S. for attack on Iranian military parade (says U.S. behind attack).
- America will levy more sanctions on Iran, a state sponsor of terror, in coming weeks for allegedly pursuing nuclear weapons; Iranian leadership says U.S. guilty of economic terrorism.
- Both countries threatening each other.
Iran’s close relationship with the Iraqi gov’t raises questions about future U.S. diplomatic missions inside Iraq, where 4,400+ U.S. soldiers have died. The U.S. fears increased tensions between the 2 countries will turn deadly.
- U.S. to Close Consulate in Iraq, Citing Threats From Iran
State Department cites risks from Iran in closing diplomatic post in southern city of Basra:
- Threats to American Personnel and Facilities in Iraq
- U.S. Closes Consulate In Basra, Citing Iran-Backed Violence:
- WHAT IS A CONSULATE?A
by Jenna Lee,