Iran’s foreign ministry has asked citizens to postpone trips to Iraq in light of violent protests in that country, especially southern cities, where Iranian pilgrims visit most.
In recent days, large and noisy protests have resumed in Iraq, including in Najaf and Karbala, where Iranian often visit as holy Shiite sites. There were bloody incidents in Karbala Monday night, when security forces opened fire on protesters, reportedly killing more than ten people.
Government offices in several southern Iraqi cities remain closed and protests continued Tuesday, with some Shiite clerics participating in demonstrations in Karbala and Najaf.
Since the beginning of October mass protests have gripped Iraq, with people demanding accountability from the political elite as corruption and mismanagement have led to lack of jobs, despite Iraq’s windfall profits from oil exports.
But during these protests hundreds have been killed and wounded, leading some protesters to accuse Iran-backed militias of firing on protesters. This has led to attacks on offices of these militia and an anti-Iran mood among demonstrators.
Iranian officials have accused "enemies" of fomenting protests in Iraq, where Tehran wields influence over politicians and the government.