Iran protests Iraq over raid on diplomatic site

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s foreign ministry said Monday it “strongly condemns” Iraq’s raid on Tehran’s consulate in Karbala over the killing of a prominent activist.

Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh Monday told reporters that Iran late Sunday handed over a “letter of protest” to the Iraqi embassy in Tehran and urged the neighboring Arab nations to pursue the case under international conventions.

“Iran strongly condemns attacks on its diplomatic sites in Iraq,” said Khatibzadeh in a weekly briefing in Tehran.

A day earlier, Iraqi protesters set fire to trailers belonging to Iran’s consulate in Karbala amid widespread anger over the killing of Ehab Wazni, an activist who took part in anti-government protests that swept Iraq in October 2019. He was shot overnight Saturday outside his home by unknown assailants.

Wazni’s death sparked daylong protests in Karbala, with demonstrators blocking roads and bridges with burning tires. On Sunday night, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Iranian consulate, burning tires in front of the building and setting fire to several trailers parked outside.

Similar scenes played out in November 2019 during protests in Baghdad and Iraq’s majority-Shiite provinces in the south.

Iran and Iraq has had close relations since the toppling of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who waged an eight-year war against Iran in 1980 that left some one million casualties on both sides.