Iran: Participation of entire religions, sects in Iraqi political scene needed

Tehran, Jan 1, IRNA – Islamic Republic has always believed in need for participation of followers of entire religions, sects, and political parties in ruling system of Iraq, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Tuesday in a phone talk with his Iraqi counterpart.

Larijani’s comments were made in response to the Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi’s Tuesday night phone call in which he had presented a report on the situation in Iraq’s al-Anbar province, seeking advice from him for problem solving there.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always emphasized the need for participation of the followers of the entire religions, sects and political parties in ruling Iraq, and the only way out of the problem is reaching national consensus and promoting public cooperation among people of all walks of life aimed at establishment of security and contributing to Iraq’s advancement,” said Larijani.

The Iranian parliament speaker said that the lawmakers here were saddened to hear the news about the collective resignation of a large group of Iraqi parliamentarians, arguing, “That is because resigning is not the way for solving problems, which can only be solved through holding dialogues and cooperation.”

Larijani emphasized, “We are, just as always, ready for offering any type of needed cooperation, and contribution to solve the problems in friend and brother country of Iraq and we hope the entire political statesmen and party leaders would keep in mind the present time alarming conditions and then adopt the required measures aimed at resolving such problems wisely.”

Several car bombs have hit Shi’a neighborhoods in Iraq's capital Baghdad killing at least five people, bringing to 23 the number of people killed in the last 24 hours.

The series of bombings on Tuesday come as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the army to leave Anbar province, in order to defuse Sunni unrest and appease parliament members, who threatened to withdraw from his government.

'I call upon politicians to adopt wise stances and not emotional ones away from any move that could help al-Qaeda, terrorists and sectarian partisans,' Maliki said in a statement.

Maliki also said the Iraqi army will hand over control of cities in Anbar province to the local police, a main demand from Sunni politicians who see the army as Maliki's effort to target rivals and consolidate power.

More than 40 Sunni lawmakers submitted their resignations from parliament, and Sunni ministers threatened to withdraw from the Cabinet over the unrest, Al-Jazeera reported.

Tariq Hashemi, Iraq's fugitive former Sunni vice president, whose ties with the terrorists have been long revealed, has also resigned (?!) in protest, and called on the government of Saudi Arabia for help,

'Enough is enough,' Hashemi told Al Jazeera. 'Everyone has a cause, but we face two main problems. We lack a unifying project and a country that supports our cause,”

On Monday, seven gunmen and three police officers were killed in clashes, as security forces took down tents and cleared a Sunni sit-in in its provincial capital, Ramadi.

Sunnis have been staging protests since last December against what they consider as second-class treatment by the Shi’a-led government, and against tough anti-terrorism measures they claimed are aimed at their sect.

The government and some tribal leaders in Anbar accused the protesters of offering shelter for al-Qaeda local branch to recruit people and plan for attacks.

Unrest in Anbar

The unrest in Anbar followed the weekend arrest of a Sunni politician, Ahmed al-Alwani, who has been prominent among the organizers of the protests.

Alwani is sought on terrorism charges for inciting violence against the Shi’a who came to power after the 2003 US-led invasion that ended Saddam Hussein's Sunni-led regime.