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Arrest Warrant against Pro-Iran Cleric Stokes Tensions in Iraq

Arrest Warrant against Pro-Iran Cleric Stokes Tensions in Iraq

Monday, 29 November, 2021 - 05:45
A student walks past the remains of a tent, which was burnt last night after clashes between supporters of Iraqi Shiite armed groups and Iraqi security forces during a protest against the election results in Baghdad, Iraq, November 6, 2021. (Reuters)

A court in the Iraqi city of Najaf has issued an arrest warrant on terrorism charges against a cleric who is close to Iran.

The suspect is Hamid al-Husseini, who is head of the Iraqi Radio and Television Union, which is funded by Iran.

Another arrest warrant on the same charges was issued against Ammar Ibrahim Talal al-Bouamer.

Observers have ruled out the possibility that the warrants may be linked to the assassination attempt against Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi earlier this month.

Tensions have been high in Iraq in wake of the failed attempt on the PM's life.

Pro-Iran factions, which were the major losers in the October parliamentary elections, are widely believed to be behind the attack. They have held protests in Baghdad to express their rejection of the vote, which they have dismissed as a "sham".

The elections commission has completed the recount of votes in ballot stations whose results have been appealed.

Ten days remain to complete the process, but as it stands, the recount will not alter the outcome of the elections, which saw Sadrist movement leader cleric Moqtada al-Sadr emerge as victor.

The official results of the elections will be revealed once the Federal Supreme Court approves them.

In the meantime, the losing factions will be bracing themselves for a new round of confrontation with the government, Kadhimi and the Independent High Electoral Commission, which they accuse of being beholden to internal and foreign powers.

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