The Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Thursday condemned the attack by some demonstrators on the Iranian consulate in the holy Shiite city of Najaf on Wednesday night.

A ministry statement said the purpose behind burning the Iranian consulate is "to harm the historical relations between Iraq and Iran, as well as with the rest of the world states whose missions are working in Iraq."

The ministry reaffirmed its warning that there are some persons who want to derail the demonstrations by distorting the fair demands of the demonstrators.

"Stressing the necessity of securing the (diplomatic) missions and their personnel, we call on the demonstrators to be vigilant against those suspects," the statement said.

The Iraqi ministry "affirms that the diplomatic missions operating in Iraq are highly respected, and what happened to the Iranian consulate does not represent the Iraq's official point of view."

On Wednesday night, dozens of angry demonstrators rallied outside the Iranian consulate in Najaf, some 160 km south of the capital Baghdad, before they broke into the building and set fire in it.

The Iranian consulate's employees fled the building before the attack, a security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Many protesters accuse neighboring Iran of interfering in Iraq's internal affairs and being behind much of the country's corruption.

The incident came as mass demonstrations have continued in Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq since early October, demanding comprehensive reform, accountability for corruption, improvement of public services and job opportunities.