Protesters Burn Down Iranian Consulate in Southern Iraq

One protester killed, 35 wounded as govt declares curfew

Protesters in Iraq’s Shi’ite holy city of Najaf have moved against the Iranian consulate a few times in recent weeks, and did so again on Wednesday, burning the building entirely to the ground. Iranian staff were unharmed, as they’d fled out the back door before the fire began.

At least one protester was confirmed killed and 35 others were wounded when Iraqi security forces opened fire with live ammunition on the demonstrators. Officials say it was to keep them from entering the consulate.

No one entered, but the protesters managed to scale the building, remove the Iranian flag and replace it with an Iraqi flag, then burn the building outright. Police have now opposed a city-wide curfew.

A lot of protester anger has been directed at the Iranians in recent weeks amid reports that the Iranian government wants the current Iraqi government to survive, and to reject protester demands for major reforms and early elections. One of the major protester grievances is that the government is too beholden to foreign powers, and these reports only add to the sense that the future of Iraq is being decided elsewhere.

An important religious site for Shi’ites, Najaf was the home of two consulates, the Iranian and the Bahraini. There is no sign Iranian diplomatic posts elsewhere in Iraq have been targeted as of yet.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.