Iran on Monday strongly condemned an attack on its consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Karbala and called on the Iraqi government to protect its diplomatic missions in the country.
“We strongly condemn the attack on our diplomatic facilities in Iraq and call on the Iraqi government to fulfill its duties in protecting Iran’s diplomatic facilities,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters.
He said a letter of protest has been submitted at the Iraqi Embassy in Tehran, expecting the Iraqi government “to fulfill its responsibilities in this regard”.
Iraqi protestors gathered outside the Iranian Consulate in Karbala on Sunday evening, burning tires and setting barricades ablaze, according to local media reports.
The protests were sparked by the killing of Iraqi activist Ihab Jawad Al-Wazni by unknown assailants on Saturday night outside his home in Karbala. His death triggered daylong protests in the city with large number of protesters blocking main roads and burning tires.
It was not the first time an Iranian diplomatic mission in Iraq came under attack.
In November 2019, protestors attacked the Iranian Consulate in Karbala amid nationwide anti-government protests. Protesters also accused Iran of interfering in the country’s internal affairs, an accusation Tehran has repeatedly denied.
According to media reports, the slain activist played a key role in 2019 anti-government protests in Iraq.
Iran and Iraq, the two neighboring countries that went to war in the 1980s soon after the Iranian revolution, did not share good relations under the former regime of Saddam Hussein.
After the Iraqi leader was deposed by the US invasion in 2003, the two countries made concerted efforts to resurrect their relations.
However, their ties have been fraught with tensions over Iran’s alleged interference in the neighboring country, including the backing of militia groups. Iran has, however, consistently denied it.
The presence of US troops in the country has also been a major concern for Tehran, which has called for their departure.
Source: Anadolu Agency