US consulate in Iraq shuts down over Iran-linked threat

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

In a statement, the U.S. State Department said the consulate was placed on "ordered departure", which technically involves a drawdown in staff.

"Washington considers Iran responsible for any damage caused to the Americans, or our diplomatic institutions in Iraq or Iranian forces or associated groups", said Pompeo.

Pompeo said the United States would hold Iran responsible for any harm to its citizens or facilities and accused Tehran of failing to prevent recent rocket attacks directed at the American consulate, the BBC said.

All week, US officials have issued increasingly ominous warnings to Iran that the United States will respond aggressively to any perceived threats to its interests in the Middle East.

Basra hosts one of three US diplomatic missions in Iraq.

USA officials said the rockets, however, had not impacted the consulate, which is located in the Basra airport compound.

The decision comes after the recent rocket attacks, which according to Pompeo, were meant for the U.S. consulate in Basra.

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US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, was responding to warnings of impending strikes on the US Consulate in Baghdad.

Responding to Trump's comments on Wednesday, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said that the U.S. is the problem: an isolated violator of worldwide laws led by a team of political and diplomatic novices that is earning the world's disapproval. Although some personnel could remain on the diplomatic compound, the move is believed to effectively close the consulate, at least temporarily.

Both the United States and Iran have strong influence in Iraq and have at times tacitly cooperated, whether in pushing back IS militants or seeking political stability in Baghdad. He, however, called the U-S decision suspicious.

Basra has been at the centre of protests that broke out in the southern province in July before spreading to other parts of the country, as demonstrators railed against poor services and condemned corruption among government officials.

Iran accuses of the United States of pursuing regime change.

He stressed that Washington would take Iran "responsible for any damage caused to the Americans or dipuchrezhdeny the United States in Iraq or anywhere else the Iranian forces or their associated groups", and warned of a "swift and adequate response".

The Iranian government denied being involved in the incidents in Iraq, according to the state media.

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