Washington: The US on Wednesday ordered all non-emergency staff to leave its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil, as tensions mount between the United States and Iraq's neighbour Iran.
Washington has ramped up pressure on Tehran in recent days, accusing Iran of planning "imminent" attacks in the region, and bolstering the American military presence in the Gulf.
A State Department advisory announcing the partial embassy closures warned of numerous terrorist and insurgent groups active in Iraq, including "anti-US sectarian militias" who could "threaten US citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq."
The US last year shut its consulate in the protest-hit southern Iraqi city of Basra, blaming "indirect fire" by Iran-backed forces.
Tensions have sharply escalated between arch-rivals Washington and Tehran since US President Donald Trump withdrew last May from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- who has made rolling back Iranian influence in the region a top priority -- last week paid a surprise trip to Baghdad in a move to bolster ties with Iraq.
Ruled by Shiite clerics, Iran has a strong influence in Iraq, especially in the country's Shiite-majority south.
Erbil is the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital, in northern Iraq.
Since pulling out of the Iran deal, the Trump administration has ramped up menacing rhetoric against Iran while tightening economic sanctions on the country.
The Pentagon said last week it was sending several massive, nuclear-capable B-52s to the region in response to indications of an alleged plan by "Iranian and Iranian proxy forces" to attack US forces.
The US move comes in response to intelligence about a threat orchestrated by Iran, officials said, but details of the threat have not been disclosed.
But US signals about escalating danger posed by Iran have been met with some skepticism by Washington's allies.
A British general said Tuesday there had been "no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria."
Both Pompeo and Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have this week played down fears that their countries were headed for conflict.
"We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran," Pompeo said Tuesday during a visit to Russia, a key backer of Tehran which has blamed the current crisis on Washington's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Khamenei told Iranian officials the stand-off "is not military because there is not going to be any war."
"Neither we nor them (the US) seek war. They know it will not be in their interest," he said, quoted on his website.