The US State Department has announced its decision to close and evacuate its consulate in Basra in southern Iraq over what it has called security risks after violent incidents near the facility.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Friday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had placed the US consulate in Basra on “ordered departure,” temporarily relocating the US diplomatic personnel in the Arab country.
Pompeo said the decision had been made to protect American diplomats against the violence, which he blames on Iran. The American diplomat claimed Iran was trying to use the potential risk to US staff there as a form of leverage on the administration of Donald Trump and his anti-Iran policies.
“Given the increasing and specific threats and incitement to attack our personnel and facilities in Iraq, I have directed that an appropriate temporary relocation of diplomatic personnel in Iraq take place,” Pompeo said on the…