BEIRUT — The State Department ordered all “non-emergency U.S. government employees” to leave Iraq Wednesday amid soaring tensions with Iran, which backs a network of proxies there.
It said in a statement that the announcement affected both the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Baghdad, and a consulate in the northern city of Erbil.
“Normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended,” it said. “The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq.”
The Trump administration has accused Iran of supporting “imminent attacks” on U.S. personnel in the region and spotlighted recent decisions to deploy an aircraft carrier, strategic bombers and other military assets to reinforce troops across the Middle East. Officials also say the White House is discussing a range of options for using military force against Iran.
But European military allies have questioned whether the threat level against U.S. assets has shifted in recent weeks. Tehran, for its part, has described growing pressure from Washington as “psychological warfare” aimed at regime change.
The withdrawal of non-emergency personnel from U.S. consular facilities came days after the State Department warned American citizens not to travel to Iraq.