The U.S. on Wednesday ordered all non-emergency staff to leave its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Arbil, as tensions mount between the United States and Iraq's neighbour Iran.
Washington has ramped up pressure on Tehran in recent days, accusing Iran of planning “imminent” attacks in the region, and bolstering the American military presence in the Gulf. A State Department advisory announcing the partial embassy closures warned of numerous terrorist and insurgent groups active in Iraq, including “anti-US sectarian militias” who could “threaten U.S. citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq.”
The U.S. last year shut its consulate in the protest-hit southern Iraqi city of Basra, blaming “indirect fire” by Iran-backed forces. Tensions have sharply escalated between Washington and Tehran since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew last May from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.