Mike Pompeo accuses Tehran’s forces of targeting American diplomatic facilities
“Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks,” Mr Pompeo said in a statement, adding both the US consulate general in Basrah and the US embassy in Baghdad had been targeted.
Tensions between the Washington and Tehran are rising ahead of a looming November 5 deadline for the reimposition of US nuclear sanctions on Iran’s oil exports following Donald Trump’s May withdrawal from a 2015 multi-country nuclear accord with the country.
Leaders of the two countries traded indirect barbs at the UN general assembly this week, with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani accusing Mr Trump of instigating an “economic war” against his country. Mr Trump told heads of state that Iran was sowing “chaos, death and disruption” across the region and called for new sanctions.
Mr Pompeo said there had been “repeated incidents of indirect fire” — usually mortar or other rocket attacks in which the launcher cannot see the ultimate target — against US facilities including within the past 24 hours. He blamed the government of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, and militias “facilitated by and under the control and direction of the Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani” for the increasing threats against US personnel and facilities in Iraq over past weeks.
State department also ordered US government personnel to leave the US diplomatic facility in Basrah. “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,” he added.