US Reason for Closing Consulate in Basra ‘Unjustifiable’

US Reason for Closing Consulate in Basra ‘Unjustifiable’ US Reason for Closing Consulate in Basra ‘Unjustifiable’

Iran dismissed as "unjustifiable" claims by the United States for shutting down its consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, saying the move is part of a blame game played by Washington.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns any attack on diplomats or diplomatic missions," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said on Saturday, Press TV reported.

He said Iran regards the “ludicrous justification” provided by Washington for the closure of the US Consulate in Basra, which was carried out after days and weeks of “propaganda, speculation and baseless accusations” against Iran and Iraqi forces, as a “suspicious move and a blame game”.

The US State Department announced its decision to close and evacuate its consulate in Basra over what it called security risks after violent incidents near the mission.

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 blamed on Iran. He claimed Iran was trying to use the potential risk to US staff there as a form of leverage on the administration of US President Donald Trump and his anti-Iran policies.

In reaction to the move, Qasemi said the US made such claims despite numerous “overt and covert indications” of foreign agents’ involvement in a “brutal” attack on Iran's Consulate in Basra.

>Adventurist Plot 

However, it is crystal clear that US officials’ “childish justifications” are part of the country’s adventurism and plot to present Iraq as an insecure country to exert pressure on the Arab country's government, the Iranian spokesperson said.

Protests broke out in Basra early this month over alleged corruption and government neglect and later turned into deadly violence in the oil-rich city.

In the course of protests, the Iranian Consulate in Basra was stormed, with attackers setting the building ablaze in their raid, causing serious financial damage. 

Later, a number of rockets were also fired at the American Consulate, which is located near the city’s airport.

>Infamous Terror Sponsor 

In a separate statement, Qasemi rejected recent unfounded and hackneyed allegations made by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir against Tehran, saying Riyadh is undoubtedly the most infamous sponsor of terrorism in the world.

"The root cause of terrorism that has engulfed the entire world, particularly the Middle East, is nowhere but in Saudi Arabia and the radical thoughts and ideologies that are promoted, spread and financed by this regime,” Qasemi said.

Addressing the 73rd annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday, Jubeir once again repeated his anti-Iran rhetoric. He claimed that Tehran was continuing its “terrorist activities and hostile behavior” and contended that peace and stability in the Middle East requires “deterring Iran’s expansionist and subversive policies.”

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