(IRNA) - An Iraqi Kurdish security official said Thursday that US forces who raided the Iranian consulate in the Iraqi northern city of Erbil had no right to conduct the raid.
Talking to IRNA on condition of anonymity, he said the government of Iraqi Kurdistan is responsible for maintaining security in the entire region.
The government of Iraqi Kurdistan was in no way informed of the storming of the Iranian consulate by US forces, he said, adding that the region's security forces were cognizant of the legal activities of the Iranian consulate, reports Trend.
The Islamic Republic of Iran set up its consulate in Erbil upon the request of the province's governor-general to facilate exchanges of the two countries' nationals two year ago and was under the supervision of the government of this Kurdish region, the the official added.
Kurdish security forces are responsible for guarding the Iranian consulate, he said, adding that the US forces disarmed the Kurdish guards of the consulate and used force to enter the building.
US forces stormed the consulate at about 5 am (local time), arrested its five staff members and confiscated computers and documents, reliable sources said.
Erbil, a city in the Kurdish-controlled north of Iraq, is 350 kilometers (220 miles) from Baghdad.
There is still no news about the whereabouts of the Iranian consulate staffers who were forcibly taken by the US forces after their raid.
The Iranian embassy in Baghdad has sent a letter to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry protesting the US' illegal move.
In its protest letter, the Iranian embassy called on the Iraqi government to help obtain the immediate release of its five detained staff.
US occupying forces had previously detained two Iranian diplomats entering Baghdad at the official invitation of the Iraqi president.