All nonessential personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq have been ordered to leave the country immediately and it also issued a travel advisory about travel to Iraq due to heightened tensions, according to AP.
The order to leave and the heightened travel warning come just weeks after President Donald Trump tightened economic sanctions against Iran and designated a portion of Iran’s military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization.
The recent economic sanctions on Iran also affect entities that also do business with them. President Donald Trump has been applying pressure on Iran since his first term when he withdrew the United States from the Iranian Nuclear Deal brokered in 2015.
The White House also sent the USS Abraham Lincoln and its strike group to the Persian Gulf to respond to any potential threats from Iran.
The State Department issued a travel advisory at the highest level a “do not travel” advisory for Iraq on May 15, 2019, and cited possible terrorist, kidnapping, and armed conflict instances against Americans.
Anti-American militias may also threaten U.S. citizens and Western companies in many areas, including Baghdad.
In response to the sanctions and the designation of a portion of its military as a terrorist organization, Iran’s leader, said in a speech that it would not be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.
According to Time, “Tehran is threatening to resume higher enrichment in 60 days if no new nuclear deal is in place, beyond the 3.67 percent permitted by the current deal between Tehran and world powers.”