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Iraqi, Iranian Clerics Blame US for Escalating Violence in Iraq

VOA News - 09 Apr 2004

Muslim clerics in Iraq and Iran have lashed out against the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, blaming Washington for deepening a crisis in a region already torn by conflict. Speaking in the central Iraqi town of Kufa, radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called President Bush his "enemy," and said he must withdraw his troops from Iraq or face a revolution. The cleric said if the pretext for war was Saddam Hussein, Mr. Bush is now fighting the Iraqi people.

U.S. officials in Iraq recently announced an arrest warrant for Moqtada al-Sadr in connection with the murder of a rival cleric last year in the city of Najaf.

In Baghdad, prominent Sunni cleric Harith Sulaiman al-Dhari called for a three-day strike beginning Saturday to protest coalition offensives, and branded U.S.-appointed politicians "traitors" for siding with the occupation of Iraq.

In Tehran, former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani condemned the U.S. operations in Iraq, saying that while Washington succeeded in toppling Saddam, it got stuck in a quagmire and failed to achieve its objectives in the war-ruined nation.

... Payvand News - 4/10/04 ... --

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