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State Department Closes Consulate In Iraq, Citing Iranian Threats

There have been widescale protests in Basra over the past weeks, with Iraqis reportedly unhappy about infrastructure, services and corruption.
Posted at 2:52 PM, Sep 29, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. is closing its consulate in Basra, Iraq, blaming alleged threats from Iran

The secretary of state also cited "indirect fire" from Iranian proxy militias, but it's not clear if that's separate from the ongoing unrest in Basra. 

The city has seen months of protests, reportedly due to unhappiness about corruption and infrastructure. Protesters actually set fire to the Iranian consulate earlier in September. 

Pompeo's move comes after a week in which he and President Donald Trump were deeply critical of Iran at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. 

"Iran's leaders sow chaos, death and destruction." The president has escalated tensions with Iran, announcing he will pull the U.S. out of the Iranian nuclear deal and reinstating sanctions on the country. 

On the same day he announced the consulate closure, Pompeo met with officials from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other regional allies about "the need to confront threats from Iran."

The New York Times reports State Department officials have been talking about closing the Basra consulate for more than a year, but for cost-cutting reasons

Additional reporting by Newsy affiliate CNN.