The Iranian foreign ministry deplored the US statement about the recent unrests in Iraq for which it had blamed Tehran, describing it as “surprising, provocative and irresponsible”.
The White House issued a statement Tuesday, accusing what it called as Iranian proxies for recent “life-threatening attacks” in Iraq. The US also warned Tehran would be held accountable if US entities are targeted.
Last week, protests broke out in Basra over corruption, unemployment, and failing infrastructure. Protesters set fire to political party headquarters as well as the Iranian consulate there. Rockets were also fired toward the US consulate in Basra and the US embassy in Baghdad. Neither location was damaged.
The statement claimed that the US would hold Tehran accountable for “any attack that results in the injury to our personnel or damage to United States Government facilities”.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the statement on Wednesday, blaming the US interfering measures and aggressive meddling for the instability, tensions and discord in the region and Iraq.
“The recent conditions and chaos in Iraq, including the attack and setting fire at the Islamic Republic of Iran’s consulate in Basra, are the result of such policies and their (the US) clear and hidden unwise support for the groups which promote violence and extremism,” he added.
Qassemi underlined Iran’s principled and permanent policy of protecting peace, stability and security in the regional states, and said, “A secure and developed Iraq has always been one of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s demands and priorities and the plots of third parties cannot prevent development and enhancement of these age-old and strong relations.”
Washington’s allegations against Iran were raised as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of the forces commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Shaabi (popular forces), took the US embassy in Baghdad and its consulate responsible for the recent unrests and attacks against the government buildings in Basra.
“We have complete information and documents showing that the US embassy and consulate should be blamed for unrests in Basra,” al-Muhandis told reporters in a press conference on Sunday.
He added that the unrests have political roots, specially with regard to the change in government and formation of the new cabinet, noting that some interest groups behind the unrests intended to stir panic among people and foment differences among political parties.
Addressing the American officials, al-Muhandis said that the Iraqis will never enter an internal war and will prepare a proper response to the Basra incidents.