US shuts down consulate in Iraq's Basra citing Iranian 'threats'

US shuts down consulate in Iraq's Basra citing Iranian 'threats'

The United States has announced it is closing its consulate in the Iraqi city of Basra and evacuating its diplomats from there after increasing threats and rocket fire from Iran and Iran-backed fighters, Al Jazeera reports.

The decision adds to mounting tension between the US and Iran, which is the target of increasing economic sanctions imposed by Washington.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, explaining the move, renewed a warning that his country would hold Iran responsible for any attacks on US diplomatic facilities and citizens.

The move follows recent rocket attacks that Pompeo said were directed at the consulate in Basra.

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

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