US orders ‘non-emergency’ staff to leave Baghdad embassy, Erbil consulate

Amid building tensions between Iran and the United States, the US State Department suspended normal visa services at its consulate in Erbil and embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday, additionally ordering “non-emergency” government employees to leave.

“The U.S. State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. Government employees from Iraq, both at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil,” read a statement posted by the embassy on Wednesday.

The consulate in Erbil was not immediately available for comment.

“Normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq,” the statement added.

The order comes amid increased tensions between Iran and the United States. Some 5,000 US forces are at Iraqi bases in the country at the invitation of Baghdad.

Its consulate in Basra took similar steps in September.