The Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Iran, Rajih al-Moussawi, so that he might be investigated for alleged “irresponsible behavior”.
In a statement, ministry spokesman Ahmed Mahjoub said that Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari had ordered al-Moussawi’s “immediate return” to Baghdad amid accusations that the latter had engaged in “irresponsible behavior towards Iraqi nationals residing in Iran”.
“The matter will be investigated and legal measures are taken,” Mahjoub said. “Iraq’s embassy in Tehran should be a safe haven for Iraqis [resident in Iran].”
In footage widely shared on social media Wednesday, al-Moussawi can be seen berating Iraqi nationals who were visiting a prominent Shia mosque in Iran’s southern city of Dolat-Abad.
After being asked several questions by the Iraqis, the ambassador shouts: “I’m not on trial! Ask your [Iraqi] prime minister and his government!”
For the last several weeks, the formation of Iraq’s next government has been stalled amid ongoing fighting between leading political parties and groups for a majority in parliament.