U.S. to Close Consulate in Iraq, Citing Threats From Iran by Ben Kesling and Michael R. Gordon – Wall Street Journal
The State Department will close the U.S. consulate in Basra, Iraq, and evacuate the diplomats stationed there, citing security risks from Iran, according to administration officials.
The U.S. post in the southern Iraqi city, one of three U.S. diplomatic missions in the country, will be shuttered following mounting, credible threats from Iranian and Iranian-backed forces in Iraq, a senior administration official said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has placed the Consulate in Basra “on ordered departure,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert announced on Friday. Mr. Pompeo made the final decision Friday morning, according to the senior administration official, to protect American diplomats and to preclude Iran from trying to use the potential risk to U.S. personnel there as a form of leverage on Trump administration policy.
Mr. Pompeo also warned Iran in messages sent through diplomatic channels that the threats are unacceptable, the senior administration official said, while underscoring that the U.S. had nothing to do with a deadly attack last weekend on an Iranian military parade in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz…
U.S. Orders Evacuation of Diplomats from Iraqi City of Basra, Citing Threats from Iran by Tamer El-Ghobashy and John Hudson – Washington Post
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered the evacuation of U.S. diplomats stationed at the U.S. Consulate in the Iraqi city of Basra on Friday, citing “threats to our personnel and facilities” from Iran and its proxies.
The closure of the consulate, one of three U.S. posts in the country, follows at least two rocket attacks apparently targeting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the mission in Basra this month. While the rockets landed harmlessly, away from the facilities, they underscored heightening tensions between Washington and Tehran as Iraq tries to form a new government.
“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 as he held a flurry of meetings with foreign counterparts in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly…