Bahram Qassemi, spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry said no staff were killed in the consulate attacks.
“The attack was pre-planned; therefore, the measures we took prevented the loss of lives. The consulate saw only some material losses.”
He described the attack as “brutal,” calling on the Iraqi government to arrest and punish perpetrators.
Turkish FM: Avoid areas of protests in Iraq
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Turkey told its citizens to avoid areas where protests are occurring, like Basra.
Turkey has announced plans to reopen consulates in Basra and Mosul.
Iraq FM calls on protesters to avoid foreign missions
Iraqi foreign ministry issued a statement calling on protesters not to target consulates and embassies.
"Understanding the demands of the protesters who are from our people of Basra province, it is highly unfortunate that the Iranian consulate was targeted by some protesters. This work is an unsatisfactory development which is not in line with the duty of national hospitality for missions," it stated.
Protestors have complained that jobs at international companies in oil-rich Basra are given to foreign workers over locals
“The targeting of diplomatic missions is not acceptable and it harms the interests of Iraq and its relations with the world. It also does not go with the slogans of demonstrations and the demands for services and water. Therefore, we call on protesters to avoid harming," it added.
The statement added that attacking the protesters' has nothing to do with their slogans.
It also called on central and local governments to strengthen security for the foreign missions.
Consulates targeted by protesters
The Iranian Consulate in Basra was set on fire on Friday night.
Iraqi forces had deployed to protect the consulate on Thursday.
A photo given to Rudaw shows the Iranian Consulate General in Basra on September 7, 2018. Photo: Rudaw
There were also unconfirmed reports of the US Consulate being targeted.
Earlier in the day, the US mission in Basra issued a statement regarding the protests, expressing "solidarity" with Iraqis.
"The U.S. Consulate General in Basrah expresses its deep concern about the violence in some of the recent demonstrations and deeply regrets the lives lost and injuries sustained by protesters and security forces this summer. We express our solidarity with the citizens of Iraq, our community, during this difficult time.
"We support the right of Iraqis to peacefully assemble, to request services from their government, and to express their views. We call on all Iraqis to respect the right of peaceful protest and to respect public and private property," it added.
Sadr & Abadi: Don't use Basra for your politics
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who championed the fight against corruption in the current government during his winning campaign in Iraq’s parliamentary election, tweeted in poetic form on Friday that at Saturday’s emergency parliament session, politics should be set aside for the people of Basra.
"Basra is burning
“Basra is being killed
"The situation is escalating
"Blood is shed
"Violence is increasing
"Corruption is worsening
"Basra funds are blocked!!!
"The parliament convene
"They have made the tomorrow's meeting exclusive to Basra, nothing else
"Leave the fight over blocs and leave the formation of the biggest bloc spoils for the sake of your people."
Sadr and incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi claim to have the largest bloc in parliament along with Ammar al-Hakim, but several politicians from Abadi’s Nasr list have splintered. Now State of Law Coalition head Nouri al-Maliki and Fatih Alliance leader Haider al-Amiri claim to also have the largest bloc.
The new parliament will convene in an emergency session to address the Basra protests on Saturday.
After convening a National Security Council meeting for Basra on Saturday, Abadi called for the demands of protesters not be exploited politically.
Abadi who fired the head of the Hashd al-Shaabi committee for “partisanship” last week then decreed himself as committee head afterward.
Hashd media posted photos showing they were delivering water to the thirsty province on Friday.
People at Tahrir Square in Baghdad voice their support for their Iraqi brethren in protest-ridden Basra on September 7, 2018. Video: Rudaw TV
Iraqis rally in Baghdad in solidarity with Basra
BAGHDAD, Iraq – People are gathering in the Iraqi capital’s Tahrir Square in support of protesters in Basra.
"We are the people of Baghdad. The youth of Baghdad, the people of courage are standing here in solidarity with the people of Basra,” one young man told Rudaw.
"In solidarity with Basra! Not for oil, government employment, nor what they have stolen. This is what we want to say. What are we demanding? Wallah, it is only water. Wallah, we want nothing else,” said another.
Among the crowd of tens of people include some from Mosul and other provinces.
Protests in Basra over government corruption, lack of services, and high unemployment reignited this past week after thousands became ill from contaminated water.
On Thursday night, angry protesters set fire to several party and militia buildings.
Three protesters were killed during violence overnight, according to local health and security officials, Reuters reported.
A number of security forces were also wounded.
An older man in Baghdad vowed to continue supporting the protests.
"We will remain peacefully protesting. We want services. The most important thing is the people of Basra as they don't have a water drop to drink," he told Rudaw.
The Iraqi parliament will convene an emergency session on Saturday to discuss the situation in Basra.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Thursday that he is willing to attend parliament along with relevant officials and ministers to talk about steps to resolve the crisis.
The new parliament had its first session on September 3, but was unable to complete its constitutionally-mandated task of selecting a speaker as opposing blocs vied for control of the chamber. The session was postponed until September 15.
Protesters are demanding faster action from the politicians.
"We demand that the government be formed within three days,” one protester in Baghdad told Rudaw. “Either the government is formed, a speaker, president, and the prime minister are named within three days, or we resort to a national salvation government."
Sistani slams ‘incompetency’ of officials
Iraq’s Shia spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in a message given by a representative during his Friday sermon, denounced the violence by both protesters and security forces, saying such behaviour only creates new crises.
He criticized politicians for seeking “political gains,” sharing power and positions among themselves and allowing foreign interference in Iraqi affairs while failing to serve the people.
"This tragic reality can't be changed if the next government is formed based upon the same standards and bases upon which the previous governments were formed," he said.
Competency, integrity, courage, firmness, and loyalty to the country and the people must be the criteria, he said.
Focusing on Basra, Sistani’s representative said the province’s water problem could easily be solved with a little effort and money.
"However, the incompetency of some officials and the indifference of some others, administrative routine and miscommunication between relevant authorities and such hurdles led to the exacerbation of the issue and its development into an acute crisis."
Politicians now must get serious to calm the situation and regain the confidence of the people, he concluded.