U.S. issues warns Iran over attack threats

Pompeo warns Iran against 'attacks on US facilities' after closing Iraq consulate

Pompeo, who as a U.S. congressman was a leading critic of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her handling of a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, stressed in his statement that he was putting a high priority on the "safety and security" of U.S. diplomatic personnel.

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.

Pompeo said the U.S. 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.

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 US personnel there as a form of leverage on Trump administration policy.

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

"The ministry regrets the American decision to pull its staff out of Basra", a statement said.

Pompeo blamed the government of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, and "militias facilitated by and under the control and direction of" Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani for "repeated incidents of indirect fire" and threats to the U.S. consulate in Basra and the embassy in Baghdad over the past 24 hours. Al-Ali has been pictured during a meeting she held with the U.S. Consul General in the province of Basra Timmy Davis more than a month ago.




The consulate closure is temporary and involves relocating diplomatic personnel. Neighbouring Iran is the other major outside power present in Iraq, alongside bitter foe the United States which led the 2003 invasion that toppled veteran dictator Saddam Hussein.

Protesters have repeatedly clashed with pro-Iranian Shiite militias that have fought the "Islamic State" (IS) and earlier this month Iran's consulate in Basra was stormed and torched.

At the United Nations this week, the two sides taunted each other, with Mr Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, warning Iran there would be "Hell to pay" if it crosses the US.

Iran accuses of the United States of pursuing regime change.

"US citizens in Iraq are at high risk for violence and kidnapping", the advisory states.

In addition, he warned the Iranian authorities of a quick and adequate response to such attacks.

In May, Trump withdrew the U.S. from an global deal to put curbs on Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for easing sanctions.

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