The United States is ready to impose sanctions against any Iraqi officials who proved to be corrupt or responsible for the deaths and causing injures of unarmed protesters, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.
He added that the U.S. would not stand idle while the corrupt officials make the Iraqi people suffer, adding that his country is prepared to use its legal authority to sanction corrupt individuals that are looting Iraqis' wealth and those killing and injuring peaceful protesters."
At least 315 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad and southern Iraq in early October, the largest demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The protests are an eruption of public anger against ruling elite seen as enriching itself off the state and serving foreign powers, especially Iran, as many Iraqis languish in poverty without jobs, healthcare or education
It is noteworthy that a senior official at the White House has previously said that the US would impose sanctions if Iraqi officials were found to be involved in the crackdown on demonstrations, a senior White House official said, noting that Washington knew that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was behind the suppression of the protests and had been to Baghdad.
He said that the US does not want to give the impression that the United States is intervening in Iraq because some will use this and use it as evidence of Western intervention and this is the case In Lebanon, where we are accused of being behind the demonstrations.
Washington knows that Iran was behind the attempts to suppress the revolutions, he said.
“The Iranian intervention in Iraq is clear and we know that Qassem Soleimani went to Baghdad and told the government how to crush protestors. … the Iranians have a pretty well-established mechanism for doing that. And, you know, we have open-source reporting of snipers shooting protesters.”