Iran calls on Iraq to deal with consulate attack in Najaf

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Thursday called on Iraqi authorities to respond “responsibly, firmly and effectively” to Wednesday’s attack on the Iranian consulate in Najaf.

A view of the burnt-out building of the Iranian Ccnsulate in Najaf, Iraq on Thursday. Photo by Ali Ai-Mumen

Protesters burned down the consulate amid ongoing demonstrations over government corruption and Iranian involvement in Iraq’s affairs, as well as unemployment and lack of social services.

“Iran’s strong note of protest was officially conveyed to the Iraqi ambassador to Tehran,” said Mousavi in a statement released by Iran’s ministry of foreign affairs Thursday.

Staff safely evacuated the building, a protester was killed and 35 others were injured as police opened fire to drive people away from the consulate.

On Thursday, 13 protesters were killed and 75 injured in the city of Nasariyah, CNN reported.

Earlier this month demonstrators were also seen at an Iranian consulate in Karbala while demanding Iran stay out of Iraqi politics. Three demonstrators were killed during subsequent clashes with police.

More than 300 people have been killed and 15,000 injured in Iraq since protests began Oct. 1 in the largest wave of demonstrations since the fall of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003.

At the end of October, Iraqi President Adil Abdul Mahdi agreed to resign but both demonstrations and the government’s crackdown — which have included curfews and Internet blackouts as well as use of lethal force — have continued.

Activists have called on the government to step down and hold early elections under supervision from the United Nations.

ByChristen McCurdy