Demonstrators protest in Baghdad, Iraq, October 2019. (photo credit: THAIER AL-SUDANI/REUTERS)
An Iranian newspaper linked to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Iraqis to seize the US embassy in Baghdad, in a move similar to the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran during the Iranian revolution of 1979, according to Radio Farda.
“Historical evidence has shown that US embassies in all countries, even in friendly and allied countries, are the focus of conspiracy. The US Embassy in Iran is a clear and exemplary example of this bitter reality,” wrote Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the Kayhan newspaper, in reference to the former US embassy that was taken over and held hostage during the revolution in 1979.
Documents found in the embassy in 1979 “revealed the betrayal of some Iranian political figures and exposed the countless US crimes in Iran and some other countries in the region,” according to Kayhan.
The author of the Kayhan article asked “young Iraqi revolutionary believers” why they don’t “end the presence of the US Embassy in Baghdad, the same espionage and conspiracy center against the oppressed Iraqi people.”
Shariatmadari claimed that “There are many documents about the presence of U.S., Israeli and Saudi Wahabi agents, as well as Ba’thist elements behind the Iraqi protests.”
Protests broke out throughout Iraq against the deterioration of living conditions and health services, government corruption, unemployment and Iranian interference in the country.
Some protestors have spoken out against Iran’s influence in the country and the presence of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias in the there. Some of the protesters have called on the government to resign.
In the past week, security forces have used live fire on crowds of protestors. Over 100 people have died in the protests.
“There is no work, you come to protest, they fire at you. Live gunfire,” said one unnamed protester to Reuters.”They are all Iranian-speaking in Farsi. You want to speak to them; they answer in Farsi. The Iraqis would not fire at you.”
Videos from the protests show security forces firing into large crowds. Steven Nabil, a correspondent for Al Hurra TV news, posted a video of the protests on Twitter, adding that protesters were claiming that men dressed in black who were firing on protesters were really Iranian.
— Steven nabil (@thestevennabil) October 3, 2019
A video being circulated on social media appears to show the Iraqi flag being raised over the Iranian embassy in Iraq during the protests. Additional videos showed protesters burning Iranian flags.
— Laieth Alrawi (@alrawi_laieth) October 4, 2019
Last week, a top commander from Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service was decommissioned, in a move that may have been pushed for by the PMF.
Ghaleb al-Shabandar, a political commentator, described the move as “the beginning of the Iraqi army’s dismantling and handover to the Hashed and other armed groups.”
Staff Lt.-Gen. Abdulwahab al-Saadi helped recapture Mosul from ISIS in 2017, served in the CTS, which was created and trained by the United States.
Saadi said he considered the shift to a position at the Defense Ministry as an “insult” and a “punishment” on Friday.
The hashtag “We are all Abdulwahab al-Saadi” began trending on Twitter, with pictures of the commander aiding civilians in Mosul and other cities, as Iraqis across the country responded with shock.
“He won the people’s friendship but the [politicians’] hatred,” said one supporter, while another said that there was “no more space for patriots in this country.”
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this story.