US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in the announcement late on September 28 that he would hold Iran directly responsible for any attacks on Americans and US diplomatic facilities in the neighboring country.
The US announcement followed recent rocket attacks that Pompeo said were directed at the consulate in Basra and the US Embassy in Baghdad. The rockets did not do any damage to the facilities.
"Threats to our personnel and facilities in Iraq from the Iranian regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, and from militias facilitated by and under the control and direction of the Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani have increased over the past several weeks," Pompeo said.
"I have advised the Iranian regime that the United States will hold Iran directly responsible for any harm to Americans or to our diplomatic facilities in Iraq or elsewhere...whether perpetrated by Iranian militias directly or by associated proxy militias," he said.
"I have made clear that Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks."
Without giving details, Pompeo said the threats against US personnel and facilities in Iraq were "increasing and specific" and included " incitement to attack our personnel and facilities in Iraq."
He said that Washington was working with Iraqi forces and US allies to address the threats.
"We look to all international parties interested in peace and stability in Iraq and the region to reinforce our message to Iran regarding the unacceptability of their behavior," he said.
Pompeo, who as a US congressman was a leading critic of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her handling of a deadly attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, stressed in his statement that he was putting a high priority on the "safety and security" of US diplomatic personnel.