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US issues travel warning for Iraq amid regional tensions

The US says Iran is threatening American interests in the Middle [Getty]ast

Date of publication: 13 May, 2019

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The US embassy in Iraq has advised against travel to the Middle Eastern country amid rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.

The US Embassy in Iraq has issued a security alert, warning US citizens of "heightened tensions" in Iraq and advising against travel there.

The advisory warning was posted on Twitter on Sunday night. It comes at a time of rising tensions in the Middle East between the United States and Iran.

The warning follows a surprise visit to Baghdad by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo which was aimed at demonstrating US support for the Iraqi government, the American official said, amid alleged intelligence reports pointing toward possible attacks on Washington interests in the Middle East by Iran.

During his visit, Pompeo also said he wanted to underscore Iraq's need to protect Americans in the country.

The US has continued to build pressure on Iran, with Pompeo accusing Tehran of planning "imminent" attacks and bolstering the military presence in the Gulf. 

On Monday, Britain warned that conflict might break out "by accident" between the US and Iran, as European Union powers gathered to figure out ways to keep afloat the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

"We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict," British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters in Brussels.

"What we need is a period of calm to make sure that everyone understands what the other side is thinking," Hunt said. He added that he would "be sharing those concerns" on Monday with European partners and visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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