United States has warned Iran that it would respond promptly and appropriately to any attacks against any of its citizens, entities or allies.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, stated this in response to threats of attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Baghdad.
Pompeo said: “The President and I have no more important priority than the safety and security of American citizens, including our diplomatic, military and other officials serving abroad.
“Threats to our personnel and facilities in Iraq from the Government of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, and from militias facilitated by and under the control and direction of the Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani have increased over the past several weeks.
“There have been repeated incidents of indirect fire from elements of those militias directed at our Consulate General in Basrah and our Embassy in Baghdad, within the past 24 hours.
“I have advised the Government of Iran that the United States will hold Iran directly responsible for any harm to Americans or to our diplomatic facilities in Iraq or elsewhere and whether perpetrated by Iranian forces directly or by associated proxy militias.
“I have made clear that Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks.
“Given the increasing and specific threats and incitement to attack our personnel and facilities in Iraq, I have directed that a temporary and appropriate relocation of diplomatic personnel in Iraq take place.
“We are working closely with our partners in the Government and Security Forces of Iraq to address these threats.
“We look to all international parties interested in peace and stability in Iraq and the region to reinforce our message to Iran regarding the unacceptability of their behaviour”.
The Secretary of State also said he had placed the Consulate in Basrah on “ordered departure”.
“U.S. Embassy in Baghdad will continue to provide full consular services to those in and around Basrah.
“The Department’s updated Travel Advisory is available at Travel.state.gov. We remain strongly committed to supporting Iraqis in the southern provinces and throughout the country,” he said.