Baghdad Iran angrily blamed the United States on Friday after at least three of its diplomats were wounded in a Baghdad shooting, saying the Americans are encouraging attacks on Iranians in Iraq.
The United States defended the actions of Iraqi security forces, but said Americans were not involved in the incident and that the U.S. "condemns any attack on guests or visitors of any country."
The shooting - which may have been by Iraqi soldiers during an argument at a checkpoint - comes amid unprecedented strains between Iran and the Iraqi leadership, which has long been close to Tehran.
With the U.S. and an emboldened Tehran jostling for power and influence in Iraq and elsewhere in the Mideast, Iranian officials have complained in recent weeks that Iraq's Shiite-dominated leadership is bowing too much to Washington. The tensions have been fueled in part by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's crackdowns in the past two months against Shiite militiamen. The U.S. accuses Iran of backing the militiamen, a claim Tehran denies.