Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has ordered the temporary relocation of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Iraq with a warning to the government of Iran that it will be held “directly responsible for any harm to Americans” or diplomatic facilities.
“The President and I have no more important priority than the safety and security of American citizens, including our diplomatic, military and other officials serving abroad,” Pompeo said in a statement issued late Friday.
The secretary said in recent weeks there have been increasing “threats to our personnel and facilities in Iraq from the Government of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, and from militias facilitated by and under the control and direction of the Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani.”
These threats have increased during the past 24 hours with “repeated incidents of indirect fire from elements of those militias directed at our Consulate General in Basrah and our Embassy in Baghdad.”
“I have advised the Government of Iran that the United States will hold Iran directly responsible for any harm to Americans or to our diplomatic facilities in Iraq or elsewhere and whether perpetrated by Iranian forces directly or by associated proxy militias,” Secretary Pompeo revealed Friday. “I have made clear that Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks.”
Due to the “increasing and specific threats and incitement to attack [U.S.] personnel and facilities in Iraq,” Pompeo has ordered “appropriate temporary relocation of diplomatic personnel in Iraq.”
“We are working closely with our partners in the Government and Security Forces of Iraq to address these threats,” said Pompeo. “We look to all international parties interested in peace and stability in Iraq and the region to reinforce our message to Iran regarding the unacceptability of their behavior.”