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Senior Iranian cleric says US responsible for Hakim's assassination

Senior cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani, speaking in Tehran on here on Friday blamed the US for the last week assassination of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, stressing that Washington should be held accountable for the crime, IRNA reported.

"It was US mercenaries in Iraq who perpetrated this crime and the US is responsible for it," Emami Kashani told worshipers at Tehran Friday prayers.

"By attacking Iraq, the US is obliged to provide the security in the country. Still, it has not only failed to do so, but has also allowed its mercenaries to commit this crime."

A deadly explosion in Iraq`s holy city of Najaf on Friday left over 100 killed and some 200 wounded. Among those killed was Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI).

Emami Kashani recalled the remarks by the US President George W. Bush that "We will never let Iraq to become like Iran," and said those who never wanted Islam to flourish in Iraq were behind Hakim`s assassination.

"They wanted to suppress the Islamic movement in Iraq by killing Hakim," Emami Kashani said.

"They did not achieve what they had plotted and Hakim`s assassination only reinforced the consolidation of the Iraqi people." He further stressed that the Iraqi people will make the "Iraqi Revolution" like the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran by relying on their unity and their affection to Imam Ali (AS), the first Imam of the Infallible Household of Prophet Mohammad (SA).

Emami Kashani said Hakim`s assassination had strongly awakened the Iraqi people [to the plots of the US], stressing the blood of the Shiite leader would also awaken Islam in Iraq.

... Payvand News - 9/5/03 ... --

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