Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban has slammed the evacuation of Exxon Mobil's employees as "unacceptable and unjustified".
"The withdrawal of multiple employees — despite their small number — temporarily has nothing to do with the security situation or threats in the oilfields in of southern Iraq, but it's for political reasons," he said in a statement.
Ghadhban added that he has sent a letter to Exxon Mobil requesting the company immediately returns to work.
On 15 May, the US State Department ordered the recall of non-emergency government employees from the US embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil. Also, the US State Department urged American citizens to abandon their visits to Iraq because of threats in the region linked to "terrorism, kidnapping and armed conflict." The Department of State assigned the fourth-highest risk level to Iraq.