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Anti-Iran protests escalate as protesters torch Iran consulate; Iraqi Army crackdown kills 14 protesters 

Najaf: The anti-Iran sentiment in Iraq has aggravated significantly. Hundreds of Iraqi protestors torched the Iranian embassy in Nasiriya city, shouting out slogans – ‘Iranians should leave Iraq immediately.’ In the Iraqi military action that followed, 14 protestors were killed, and a curfew was clamped in the city of Najaf. Meanwhile, infuriated by the torching of the consulate, Iran has demanded strict action against those responsible for the attack.  

The Iraqi people are protesting on a massive scale in capital Baghdad and the southern regions. The Iraqi youth have closed all roads that have access to the high-security Green Zone in Baghdad. On the other hand, the protests in the southern cities of Basra and Najaf, which are under Iranian influence, have intensified. On Wednesday, the protestors rounded up the Iranian embassy in Nasiriya after midnight and set it up on fire.  

No employees of the embassy were injured in the fire. Also, the arson was the second attack on an Iranian embassy in southern Iraq, in the last month. During both the attacks, the protestors chanted anti-Iran slogans. The events make evident the brewing discontent within the Iraqi people, but the locals termed the acts of the demonstrators to be heroic. Nevertheless, locals expressed concerns to the international news agencies over Iran, which had already deployed its army in Iraq, of taking definite action against the protestors.   

Iran expressed outrage over the embassy attack demanding harsh action against the protestors. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Musavi hoped for a response over the incident saying that ‘The Iraqi government must take responsible, strong and effective action against those involved.’ Musavi informed that the Iraqi embassy in Iran was even summoned over the matter. After that, the Iraqi security forces took action that claimed the lives of 14 protestors. The Iraqi security agencies opened fire to wrest control of the two bridges closed by the protestors, since the last few days which caused injuries to more than 70 demonstrators.   

So far, 370 people have been killed and thousands injured in the anti-government protests that began in Iraq since 1st October. The protestors condemned the Mahdi government of being a mere puppet of Iran although Iran has accused the United States and Saudi of fuelling the protests. 

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