Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s senior Shi’ite cleric, says no foreign power should be allowed to interfere in the choice of the country’s next prime minister. The cleric’s aide related this to followers during Friday prayers in the holy city of Karbala. “We hope a new head of government and its members will be chosen within the constitutional deadline…. It must also take place without any foreign interference,” the aide related during a sermon. Last Sunday, the Iraqi parliament officially accepted the weekend resignation of prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who announced he was stepping down due to ongoing anti-government unrest throughout the country over poor living conditions, corruption among the elites and undue Iranian influence. Over 400 people have been killed in the unrest, with much of the protesters’ anger directed toward Tehran.
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