The United States has ordered the expulsion of an Iraqi diplomat to the United Nations over espionage allegations, the State Department said.
"This afternoon, ... the United States informed the Iraqi mission to the United Nations that one of its diplomats was being expelled for engaging in activities that are incompatible with his status as a diplomat," deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said.
Reeker declined to identify the diplomat, detail the charges against him or say when he would be required to leave the United States. According to AFP, Iraqi sources at the UN said the diplomat was Abdul Rahman Saad, a first secretary and sixth in rank of the 14 Iraqi diplomats accredited to the United Nations.
A second State Department official said the diplomat had been caught by US authorities trying to recruit American citizens to work for him but it was not clear exactly for what purpose.
The official said Iraq had 24 hours to respond to the order and that there would likely be some consultation with the United Nations over the expulsion, as is provided for in the agreement the United States has with the United Nations on hosting the world body.
The official said in normal cases an expelled diplomat would have 30 days to leave the country once the order was delivered, but could not say if that was the case in this circumstance.
"This particular diplomatic action, which was taken because of the activities of the particular Iraqi diplomat at the United Nations, does not reflect any change in our policy toward Iraq," he told reporters. (Albawaba.com)
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