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Iraq’s Salih Would Rather Quit than Back Pro-Iran Pick for PM
Iraqi President Barham Salih addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 25. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Iraq’s Salih Would Rather Quit than Back Pro-Iran Pick for PM

Iraqi President Barham Salih has refused to recognize the nomination for prime minister of a pro-Iran bloc in parliament, saying it would only further inflame unrest that has gripped the country since the beginning of October. The Bina bloc’s candidate is Asaad al-Edani, governor of Basra Province in the densely Shi’ite South. “Out of my desire to stop the bloodshed and maintain peace, and with all due respect to Asaad al-Edani, I refuse to nominate him,” Salih was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office on Thursday. “I place my willingness to resign the post of president in the hands of members of parliament so that they can decide as representatives of the people to do what they feel is right.” The ongoing unrest, which led to the resignation last month of prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and the death of well over 400 protesters, has targeted alleged government corruption, but also growing interference in Iraqi affairs by neighboring Iran.

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