The United States has ordered the expulsion of an Iraqi diplomat to the United Nations because of what were termed activities "incompatible" with his diplomatic status, language that usually means espionage activity.
The United States broke diplomatic relations with Iraq at the time of the Gulf War more than a decade ago and Iraq's staff at the U.N. numbering about 15 are the only Iraqi diplomats in the United States. Confirmation of the expulsion of the Iraqi reportedly the sixth-ranking person at the mission came from State Department spokesman Philip Reeker.
"This afternoon the United States informed the Iraqi mission to the United Nations that one of its diplomats was being expelled for engaging in activities that are incompatible with his status as a diplomat. We've delivered a diplomatic note to the Iraqi mission. That diplomatic note was handed over by one our diplomats from the U.S. mission to the United Nations," Mr. Reeker said.
Spokesman Reeker stressed that the expulsion was being ordered, rather than requested, even though the Iraqi was accredited to the United Nations rather than the United States. A U.S. official said Iraq had 24 hours to reply to the note delivered Friday, though it was unclear when the diplomat was expected to depart.