Saudi Arabia reassigns ambassador to Iraq after controversy

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia says it has reassigned its ambassador to Iraq, months after he claimed that Iranian-backed Shiite militias were plotting to assassinate him.

A royal decree issued early Sunday from King Salman announced Thamer al-Sabhan would be a minister of state for the Gulf region.

The decree and a brief story on the state-run Saudi Press Agency did not elaborate on the reason for his reassignment.

However, it comes after Iraq asked Saudi Arabia in August to replace al-Sabhan as it said the ambassador's allegations were without evidence and harmed relations between the two countries.

Iranian-backed Shiite militias have fought against the Islamic State group in Iraq, raising worries in the Sunni-ruled kingdom about Iranian influence there.

Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in January.

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