The U.S. Embassy in Iraq said the State Department has ordered all non-essential staff to leave the country immediately, citing heightened tensions, according to an Associated Press report Wednesday.
The warning comes after Washington, D.C., said it detected urgent threats from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting American forces. The embassy advised Americans to avoid travel to Iraq because of “heightened tensions.” (RELATED: John Bolton’s Urgent-Sounding Iran Statement Was All For A ‘Regularly Scheduled Deployment’)
Tensions have risen in recent weeks after President Donald Trump tightened economic sanctions on Iran and designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization. Iran, in turn, indicated it might break part of the nuclear deal reached under former President Barack Obama.
Trump’s designation of the IRGC allows the U.S. Treasury Department to levy sanctions not only on the organization itself, but also entities that do business with them. These sanctions constitute the harshest actions the U.S. government can take with implications that reverberate throughout the global financial system.
The president has applied pressure on Iran since the beginning of his first term, encapsulated in his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iranian Nuclear Agreement signed under Obama.
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