Iran says US blame over Iraq protests ‘astonishing’

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi blamed the unrest on US support for “groups which have spread and promoted violence and extremism.” (File/AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Iran says US blame over Iraq protests ‘astonishing’

TEHRAN: Iran described as “astonishing” Wednesday US accusations that its allies in Iraq were responsible for attacks on US diplomatic missions during deadly unrest last week centered on third city Basra.
Both the US consulate in Basra and its embassy in Baghdad came under attack but the offices of political parties and militias backed by Iran were the principal target of the unrest in Basra while the Iranian consulate in the city was burnt to the ground.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi blamed the unrest on US support for “groups which have spread and promoted violence and extremism.”
“The US government must be held accountable for its years of support for these groups,” Ghasemi told the semi-official ISNA news agency.
“America should know that by playing such clumsy blame games, it cannot cover up the consequences of its wrong, fruitless and destabilising policies in the region.
“Issuing such statements lacks credibility, and is astonishing, provocative and irresponsible.”
Ghasemi was responding to a statement by the White House on Tuesday, which criticized Iran for failing to prevent the violence, particularly the attacks on the US diplomatic missions.
“Iran did not act to stop these attacks by its proxies in Iraq, which it has supported with funding, training, and weapons,” the statement said.
The rare attack on the US embassy in Baghdad came on Friday when three mortar rounds were fired at the capital’s fortified Green Zone, though no casualties or damage was reported.
Bitter foes Iran and the United States are Iraq’s principal allies and have long vied for political influence.


Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak stages return to ‘topple Netanyahu’

Updated 16 min 59 sec ago
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Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak stages return to ‘topple Netanyahu’

  • Speaking at a Tel Aviv press conference, Barak called for an end to ‘Netanyahu’s rule’
  • Barak retired from politics in 2013, but has been an outspoken critic of Netanyahu since

JERUSALEM: Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Barak has announced he is returning to politics and is forming a new party that will aim to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in upcoming elections.
Speaking at a Tel Aviv press conference Wednesday, Barak called for an end to “Netanyahu’s rule with the radicals, racists and corrupt, with the Messianists and his corrupt leadership.”
The 77-year-old Barak, who was once Netanyahu’s army commander, served as military chief and then prime minister from 1999-2000. Most recently, he served as Netanyahu’s defense minister. He retired from politics in 2013, but has been an outspoken critic of Netanyahu since.
Israel will hold a second parliamentary election in September after Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition following April’s vote.