The US has ordered the departure of all non-essential staff from its diplomatic missions in Iraq, while Germany and the Netherlands suspended military training programmes in the country as tensions soar between the US and Iran.
The decisions follow a series of warnings by American officials over the past 10 days about unspecified 「escalatory action」 by Iran, which have been accompanied by US military deployments to the region.
Both Washington and Tehran have insisted they do not want war, but European diplomats have expressed concerns that the heightened tensions could lead to an 「accidental」 conflict.
Iraq, which shares a long border with Iran, is home to Iranian-backed Shia militias and serves as a base for an estimated 5,000 US troops, who have been supporting the fight against Isis, the Sunni jihadist group.
Germany suspended its training mission with the US-led coalition fighting Isis this week because of concerns about tensions in the region, the government confirmed. The Netherlands also halted its military training with Iraqi forces due to an unspecified security threat, a spokesman for the Dutch ministry of defence said.
A US embassy spokesperson said the state department ordered the departure of non-essential staff from its embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil on Wednesday because of 「the increased threat stream we are seeing in Iraq」.
The spokesperson declined to give any details about the threat. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, has also talked about the threat without providing any specifics.