The United States embassy in Baghdad is withdrawing some of its staff ahead of the first anniversary of the US killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in the Iraqi capital.
According to Aljazeera, the drawdown will continue until after the anniversary of the killing of Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport in January this year.
The move also follows a string of rocket attacks and roadside bombs by Iran-backed armed groups on US installations in Iraq.
A senior Iraqi official termed the withdrawal a minor drawdown based on security reservations from the US side.
“They could come back, the official told AFP news agency.
The US State Department has not commented on the reports.
Last month, US officials announced they would reduce the number of American troops in Iraq from about 3,000 to 2,500 by January 15 next year.
Tension in the region flared once again last week following the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh near Tehran.
There has been no claim of responsibility but Iran has blamed Israel a key US ally of killing Fakhrizadeh using remote-controlled technology and Iran has promised a harsh revenge.
”Iran’s regime is more likely to avenge Soleimani’s death after Trump leaves office, said Kasra Aarabi, an Iran analyst at the Tony Blair institute for global change.
Arash Azizi, author of ‘the shadow commander’ said Iran’s long-term goal is to see a complete US withdrawal from the region.
“But a sudden withdrawal of the American troops now will actually be dangerous for Iran, it will give rise to the questions, Arash added.
In September, the Trump administration warned Iraq that it will close its embassy in Baghdad if the government fails to take decisive action to end rocket and other attacks by Iranian-backed militias on American and allied interests in the country.