BAGHDAD, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi received the approval and encouragement of both the United States and Iran after his nomination.
Although current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, regarded as a divisive figure in a country fracturing along religious and ethnic lines, insists he will remain in power for a third term, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden phoned his congratulations to Abadi Monday. Meanwhile, Iran, with its majority Shia population and its influence on Iraq's Shia political leaders, announced its support as well.
Iraq's constitutional policy commits it to a Shiite prime minister.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry noted that "the best thing for stability in Iraq is for an inclusive government to bring the disaffected parties to the table and work with them in order to make sure there is the kind of sharing of power and decision-making that people feel confident the government represents all of their interests."
In separate remarks, Kerry said his "hope is that Mr. Maliki will not stir those waters."
Ali Shamkhani of Iran's Supreme National Council was also supportive of Abadi and Iraq's political process, saying Monday that "the framework provided by the Iraqi Constitution stipulates that the prime minister has been chosen by the majority group in the parliament." He asked "all groups and coalitions in Iraq to protect the national interest."
Abadi, the former communications minister, has 30 days to nominate a slate of ministers and form the new Iraqi government.