Iran has blamed Iraqi security forces for allowing its embassy in Najaf to be torched by protesters on Wednesday night, as Baghdad launches another bloody crackdown on the south of the country.
It comes as protesters shouted “Victory to Iraq!” and “Iran out!”, setting fire to the Iranian consulate in the holy Shia city.
“Iran has officially communicated its disgust to the Iraq ambassador in Tehran,” he said in comments carried by Iran’s state news agency IRNA.
Iraqi troops killed 18 protesters on Thursday, according to Al Jazeera, in the country as tensions between the demonstrators and government forces continues to rise.
Iran has demanded the Baghdad government take decisive action against the protesters, with foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi condemning the attack.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, as commander in chief of the armed forces, dispatched military chiefs to several restive provinces to “restore order” there, the military said in a statement.
Iraq’s death toll in the street clashes since early October has risen above 360 with over 15,000 wounded according to an AFP tally, as authorities are not releasing updated or precise figures.
The latest clashes erupted in Nasiriyah, where security forces cleared protesters off two main bridges they had been occupying for days.
At least 13 protesters were shot dead and 100 wounded with several in critical condition, medical and security sources said.
A curfew had been imposed earlier and military reinforcements deployed to the edge of the city, searching all cars and people seeking to enter, according to AFP.
Top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, Tehran’s pointman on Iraq, has held several meetings in Baghdad and Najaf to back the hardline tactics of Abdel Mahdi, leading to a new crackdown.
Six people were meanwhile killed in near-simultaneous blasts across Iraq’s capital late on Tuesday, medics and a security source said, amid deadly anti-government protests that have rocked Baghdad and the Shia-majority south for weeks.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the three explosions, which were the first such violence in the capital after months of relative calm.
Protesters in #Najaf set fire inside the Iranian Consulate. The diplomatic staff were evacuated by security forces 10 minutes before the storm of protesters according to eye witnesses. pic.twitter.com/FwvfZ4XAOz
— Mustafa Salim (@Mustafa_salimb) November 27, 2019
Source » alaraby