On September 7, thousands of Iraqi protestors stormed the Iranian consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra and set it on fire during their demonstrations against corruption and a lack of basic public services, according to Iraqi sources.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq condemned the attack on the Iranian consulate in an official statement and called on the Iraqi government to protect all diplomatic missions in Basra.
“The targeting of diplomatic missions is unacceptable and harms the interests of Iraq and its relations with the countries of the world and it is not related to the slogans of protests, nor the demands for services and water,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs said in its statement.
Following the incident, an Iraqi security source told the Iraqi al-Sumaria News outlet that a large unit of special forces was deployed in Basra to restore the law and order. Local sources said that the unit managed to prevent the protestors from attacking the U.S. consulate in the southern city.
On the other side, the coordination committees of the protests in Basra announced that the demonstrations will be halted for several days in order to allow Iraqi security forces to secure the city.
“The purpose of pausing the protests is to give an opportunity for Iraqi security forces to arrest the saboteurs and to help in restoring security in the province … the protestors will return to demonstrate again once the chaos in the province is over,” one of the protestors told the Russian RT TV.
A day earlier, the angry protestors set fire to several government and political party buildings in Basra. According to the Ministry of Health of Iraq, one protestor lost his life and 35 people were injured during the demonstrations on that day.
The Iraqi Parliament is set to discuss the unrest in Basra in an emergency session on September 8. However, observers doubt that the parliament will manage to solve this crisis because most of the protestors don’t trust the Iraqi government anymore.