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Iraqi FM welcomes Iran's support

Oct. 12, 2010 at 4:46 PM
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BAGHDAD, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Tehran has been a strong advocate for democratic developments in neighboring Iraq, the Iraqi foreign minister said.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency that he appreciated Iran's support for political developments in Iraq.

"The Islamic republic of Iran has always supported democratic changes in Iraq," he said.

His comments come as Iraq enters its seventh month without a new government, a world record. The secular Iraqiya slate won the March 7 elections but not by enough to form a new government alone.

Incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, meanwhile, secured support from Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, who is in Iran pursuing his cleric studies. Sadr supporters took about 10 percent of the March 7 vote, putting Maliki within sight of a parliamentary majority.

Maliki's rival, Iyad Allawi, is courting Arab allies during the government stalemate. Allawi during talks in Riyadh expressed his concern about Iranian influence in Baghdad with the ruling monarchy, which is wary of Maliki's ties to Tehran.

Zebari, nevertheless, said ties between Tehran and Baghdad were "growing."

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