Iran blacklists US ambassador in Iraq, reciprocating US move

Matthew Tueller, nominee to be US ambassador to Iraq, testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

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SULAIMANI — Iran on Friday (October 23) blacklisted the US ambassador in Iraq and two other diplomats, following a similar move by the United States against Iran’s envoy to Baghdad, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Twitter that ambassador Matthew Tueller “has had a central role in coordinating terrorist acts in Iraq & beyond” including the assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, killed by a US missile strike at Baghdad in January.

Iraq is one of the few countries that is allied to both the United States and Iran, which both provided military support in a 2014-2017 campaign against Islamic State. Iraqis worry that the two countries could use Iraqi territory for a proxy war.

Tehran’s move, which allows the seizure of assets within Iran of sanctioned individuals, is symbolic and unlikely to have any impact on the US diplomats.

On Thursday, the United States blacklisted Iraj Masjedi, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, saying he has for years overseen the training and support of Iraqi militia groups responsible for attacks on US and coalition forces in Iraq.

(NRT Digital Media/ Reuters)