June 14, 2006

Crowd attacks Iranian consulate in Iraq’s Basra

BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - A crowd of demonstrators attacked
Iran's consulate in the Iraqi city of Basra on Wednesday,
setting fire to a reception area of the building, Reuters
television footage showed.

Hundreds of protesters outside the consulate chanted
slogans against an Iranian satellite station, accusing it of
insulting a Shi'ite cleric in Iraq.

A cleric who addressed the crowd demanded an apology from
the government in neighboring, mainly Shi'ite Iran.

"If our demand is not met we will not be able to hold back
these angry crowds," he told the demonstrators.

Thick smoke billowed near the consulate building in Iraq's
second city, which is patrolled by British forces.

A British military spokesman earlier said he had received
reports from local emergency services that demonstrators "may
have entered" the compound and that they were burning tires

He added that the protesters since seemed to have pulled
back from the building and that there were no reports of other