ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s foreign minister said on Monday that demonstrators who recently burned the Iranian consulate in Basra were “rogue agents” and will be punished, stressing that they did not represent others in the city who have been protesting poor public services, corruption, and violent tactics of security forces.
Those who set the fire, said Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim al-Jaafari, were “driven by elements that wanted to harm Iraq and relations with the Islamic Republic." He made the comments to an Iranian news outlet.
As reignited protests in Basra reached their fifth consecutive day, unknown persons entered and set ablaze the Iranian Consulate on Friday, in addition to multiple political party offices public buildings, targetted amid public outrage at perceived government indifference toward an underserved and beleaguered populace.
“This attack is not just against the Iranians, but also on us,” Jaafari stated. “And we should not put the demonstrators and the Iraqi people and government under the same umbrella as those rogue agents. They do not represent anyone but themselves.”
Tehran, in response to the attack on their mission’s building, summoned the Iraqi ambassador to Iran to discuss the incident, due to which, protesters say, they have halted demonstrations.
“There are some recruits trying to tamper with this civilized phenomenon [demonstrations] and harm Iraq,” Jaafari alleged.
Iran and its allies in Iraq accuse the United States of fueling protests from its consulate, based at Basra International Airport.
Jaafari hoped for “the case” not to be dropped until the “revealing of the truth that there are enemies common to Iraq, and neighboring countries.”
Editing by John J. Catherine