Iran rejects US claims over Basra protests as ‘provocative, irresponsible’
Story Code : 749784
“The US administration's policies to create tension, its meddlesome measures and aggressive interference are the main reason behind instability, insecurity, tension and division in the region, and the policies of this country in Iraq have led to nothing but insecurity and instability,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Wednesday.
He added that the recent unrest in Iraq, including the attack on Iran’s consulate in Basra, was the outcome of the US’s policies and its “unwise and short-sighted policy, either covert or overt, to support groups promoting and spreading violence and extremism.”
The remarks came in response to a recent statement by the White House press secretary that blamed Iran for the recent wave of violence in Basra. It also accused Iran of not preventing attacks in recent days on the US consulate in Basra and the American embassy compound in Baghdad.
Qassemi said the US claims “lacked credibility” and were “astonishing, provocative and irresponsible.”
He said “the US government must be held accountable for its years-long support for the [terrors] groups in the region and issuing such suspicious statements that put blame on others… cannot reduce their (Americans’) burden of responsibility for creating tension and attacking diplomatic sites and state buildings in that country and other parts of the world.”
He added that Washington cannot cover the consequences of its “wrong, fruitless and destabilizing” policies through playing “gauche” blame games.
Protests broke out in Basra early this month over alleged corruption and government neglect and later turned into deadly violence in the oil-rich city.
In the course of the protests, the Iranian consulate in Basra was stormed, with attackers setting the building ablaze in their brutal raid, causing serious financial damage.
On Friday, three mortar shells also struck the ultra-secure green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US embassy. Unknown assailants also hit the perimeter of the airport in Basra on Saturday, although no damage or casualties were reported. The US consulate is adjacent to the airport.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Qassemi reaffirmed Iran’s policy to contribute to promotion of peace, stability and security in regional countries. He said the Islamic Republic advocates a secure and developed Iraq, noting that plots by third parties will fail to undermine Iran-Iraq relations.
The US invaded Iraq in 2003 under the banner of "war on terror" two years after invading Afghanistan under the same pretext. The deployment was followed by rampant violence and chaos, which set the stage for the rise of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in 2014.