January 6, 2020 / 8:08 PM / in 2 months

UK reduces staff at Iran, Iraq embassies after Soleimani's death - Sky News

FILE PHOTO: A plague marks the re-opening of the British Embassy by Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in Tehran, Iran August 23, 2015. REUTERS/Darren Staples

(Reuters) - Britain has reduced staff at its embassies in Iran and Iraq to a minimum level following the U.S. killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, Sky News reported on Monday, citing diplomatic sources.

The withdrawal of the diplomats is a precautionary step rather than based on specific intelligence of a threat, according to the report. (bit.ly/2FvWb0x)

Ambassadors Rob Macaire in Tehran and Stephen Hickey in Baghdad will remain in place, Sky News said.

The Foreign Office said its embassies in Baghdad and Tehran remained open but declined to comment on operational detail.

“The safety and security of our staff is of paramount importance and we keep our security posture under regular review,” a spokesman said.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan in London; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Lisa Shumaker

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