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International News

May 16, 2019
7:23AM

US State Dept orders departure of non-emergency employees from Iraq

File Pic:IANS
The US State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency employees from Iraq, amid rising tensions between the US and Iraq's neighbour Iran. 

The US Embassy in Baghdad advised such employees to leave Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible. 

Referring to the embassy and the US consulate in Erbil, the State Department said that normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended. It has also warned its citizens against travelling to the country due to the high risk of violence and kidnapping.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had made an unannounced visit to Iraq last week amid escalating tensions with Iran. On Tuesday, US Central Command had warned in a statement that Iranian-backed forces presented credible and possibly imminent threats to US forces in Iraq, without disclosing further details. 

There were reports suggesting that US investigators believed that the sabotage of the four commercial ships in the territorial waters of the UAE were carried out by proxies of Iran.

Saudi Arabia has also blamed the Houthi militia for the drone attack on two of its oil pumping station. Houthis are believed to be backed by Iran.

Last week, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had announced partial withdrawal from some of the commitments made under the landmark 2015 International Nuclear Deal. The announcement came after US unilaterally decided last year to withdraw from the deal and imposed sanctions on Iran.

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