Iran-Iraq integrity under attack as suspects burn consulate in Basra

September 8, 2018 - 21:32

TEHRAN – Following an arson attack on the Iranian consulate in the Iraqi city of Basra on Friday night, the Iranian ambassador to Baghdad says certain elements seek to damage Iran-Iraq ties which have been built after years of efforts.

“Foreign elements close to the U.S., the Zionists and certain Arab countries are trying to undermine the relations [between Iran and Iraq],” Iraj Masjedi told ILNA in an interview published on Saturday. 

Mansour Haqiqatpour, an advisor to the Majlis speaker, told the Mehr news agency that what happened to the Iranian consulate was “suspicious”.

Pointing the finger at ill-wishers of Iran-Iran relations, Haqiqatpour said the attack on the consulate came a few weeks before the Shia rituals of Muharram and the Arbaeen pilgrimage. 

The advisor said the attack was in line with media propaganda campaign that over the past weeks tried to create a sense of cynicism among both nations toward each other.

A media campaign recently started to agitate the Iraqi people against Iran by negatively covering electricity shortage in Iran that halted export of electricity to Iraq.

It also tried to create cynicism among Iraqis toward Iranian pilgrims who regularly visit Iraq, trying in particular to question the pilgrims’ sexual conduct.

On a parallel plain, the same story was stirred in Iran by media claiming that Iraqi pilgrims who visited Iran’s Mashhad were sexually benefiting from Iranian women.

The cynicism campaign also included fake reports that Iraqis are intentionally burning the plantation at the Hour al-Azim wetland in southwestern Iran in order to cause inconvenience to Iranians living in Khuzestan province.

MP Ardeshir Nourian said on Saturday that “it is quite clear that the Saudis have a hand in the event of [storming] Iranian consulate in Basra.” 

One of their strategies to attain this end is to damage relations between Iran and its neighbors, particularly those with shared borders, the MP noted.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the attack on the consulate and summoned Rageh Saber Abbood Al-Musawi, the Iraqi ambassador to Tehran.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Friday that the Iraqi government is responsible for the security of the Iranian diplomatic mission and also warned about “overt and covert” elements which seek to cause harms to the relations between the two countries.

He called on the Iraqi government to immediately identify, arrest and punish the perpetrators. 

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered an investigation into the incident.

He said late on Friday that he had instructed security forces to act decisively against the “acts of vandalism” that accompanied the demonstrations.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry also said the attack on Iran’s consulate is deeply regretted.

“The targeting of diplomatic missions is unacceptable and detrimental to the interests of Iraq,” Aljazeera quoted Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Mahjoub as saying.

Iraq’s Joint Operations Command, which includes the army and police, said in a statement there would be a “severe” response with “exceptional security measures”, including banning protests and group travel, AFP reported.


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