Washington orders government employees to leave Iraq

American Special Forces soldiers in February in northern Syria. “Our boys, our young women, our men — they’re all coming back, and they’re coming back now,” President Trump declared in a video posted Wednesday evening on Twitter. CreditCreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times

Washington ( – The U.S. has ordered all non-emergency employees at its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil to leave Iraq amid reports of possible imminent threats from Iran.

“Normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended,” the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said in a press statement on Wednesday.

A U.S. State Department spokesman declined to give details on how many personnel would leave Iraq, saying that the pullout decision was based on a security assessment.

“Ensuring the safety of U.S. government personnel and citizens is our highest priority and we are confident in the Iraqi security services’ (ability) to protect us,” he said.

“But this threat is serious and we want to reduce the risk of harm.”

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have sharply increased after Donald Trump’s administration stepped up sanctions pressure on Iran by ending waivers for some countries to purchase Iranian oil.

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