Iraq suspends consulate activities in Iran’s Mashhad

By Amer al-Hassani

BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraq has suspended activities in its consulate in the Iranian city of Mashhad after two diplomats were assaulted, according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

“Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim has ordered activities in the Iraqi Consulate in Mashhad be suspended in the wake of the assault on two Iraqi diplomats,” ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahhaf said in a statement.

The two diplomats were beaten and arrested in Mashhad last week after being placed under observation by Iranian security forces.

The pair were later released without bail after pressures from Iraqi authorities.

Mashhad deputy governor Hassan Jafari, for his part, described the incident as a “misunderstanding”.

"There was a 'slight misunderstanding' that was later resolved, and there is no problem between the consulate and Iran,” he said in statements cited by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Relations have markedly improved between Iraq and Iran following the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara