Pompeo urges Iraq to uphold 'sovereignty'

US Secretary of State expresses his outrage at continued assaults by Iran's armed groups against US facilities in Iraq.

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday urged Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to uphold his country's "sovereignty" in the face of "attacks" from Iran on US facilities in Iraq.

Pompeo "expressed his outrage at the continued assaults by Iran's armed groups against US facilities in Iraq, including yesterday's rocket attacks against our Embassy, which resulted in one injury," the State Department said in a statement.

The statement said that "these attacks demonstrate a wanton disregard for Iraqi sovereignty and a failure to rein in these dangerous armed groups."

Pompeo said on Twitter that "the government of #Iraq must take immediate steps to protect our diplomatic facilities as required by international law."

Three rockets slammed into the US embassy in Iraq's capital on Sunday in the first direct hit reported after months of close calls

The attack marked a dangerous escalation in the spree of rocket attacks in recent months that have targeted the embassy or Iraqi military bases where American troops are deployed.

The US State Department called on Iraq late Sunday to "fulfil its obligations to protect our diplomatic facilities".

A US drone strike killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani on January 3 outside the Baghdad airport - prompting Iran to fire ballistic missiles at an Iraqi base where US troops are stationed.

Two days later, Washington paused joint military operations with Iraq before resuming them on January 15.

The same day of the suspension furious Iraqi lawmakers voted to expel the more than 5,000 US troops that are in Iraq.

Pompeo said that Iraqi leaders have told him privately they support the US troop presence, despite public appeals for them to leave.

"They won't say so publicly. But privately they all welcome the fact that America is still there executing its counter terror campaign," Pompeo said at a forum at Stanford University.