Two key pro-Iran Iraqi armed groups Thursday rejected a US claim of an "imminent" threat against American personnel that prompted Washington to order the evacuation of some staff from its Baghdad embassy.
The two groups are key factions within the Shiite-dominated Hashed al-Shaabi organisation which played a key role in the battle to defeat the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq.
The evacuation order, also covering the US consulate in Arbil, came 10 days after the Pentagon deployed an aircraft carrier task force and B-52 bombers to the Gulf to fend off an unspecified alleged plot by Tehran to attack US forces or allies.
"It is directly linked to Iran, multiple threat streams directly linked to Iran," said one official.
"This is an imminent threat to our personnel," said a second official.
But Shomari dismissed the allegations, telling AFP the United States "is trying to create an uproar in Iraq and in the region under any pretext".
"If we put out a statement concerning the United States, they consider it a threat, but if the United States carries out an attack, isn't that a threat?," he added.
Azari echoed his remarks, saying the US claim and its recent action in the region "are a provocation aimed at escalating a psychological war" due to the prevailing tensions with Iran.
Shiite-majority Iraq has been under pressure from the US to limit its ties with neighbouring Iran, particularly after Washington last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran and hit it with sanctions.
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