BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 A.M.) – The United States allegedly decided to withdraw about half of its diplomats from the US embassy in Baghdad, amid heightened tensions with Iran, which Washington fears will seek revenge.
The US-based newspaper Politico reported this information from US officials , one working in US Department of State, about reducing the number of staff, but it is not clear when it will resume work at full capacity of the embassy because of the growing tensions with Iran.
“The State Department continually adjusts its diplomatic presence at embassies and consulates throughout the world in line with its mission, the local security environment, the health situation, and even the holidays,” a department official said in a statement. “Ensuring the safety of U.S. government personnel, U.S. citizens, and the security of our facilities, remains our highest priority.”
The downsizing of diplomats at the US embassy in Baghdad coincides with the first anniversary of the US air strike, which last January killed the Iranian military commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani, while visiting the Iraqi capital.
There are also fears that Iran, which has great combat capabilities in Iraq through some armed militias, may try to respond to the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last month, its prominent nuclear scientist, according to the report.
It is still unknown where and when Iran will respond; furthermore, it is not clear who they will respond against, as the preparators of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s assassination are still unknown.