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Iran lends weight to Iraq elections

Tehran, Dec 4, IRNA -- Iran Saturday gave a muted backing to Iraq elections, scheduled for January 30, with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi calling on all ethnic groups to unite, and warning of threats to the war-torn country's integrity.

Ongoing violence has threatened to derail Iraq's elections, with several groups demanding that the elections be postponed, while others have called for the polls to go ahead as scheduled.

In a meeting with the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Abdelaziz Hakim in Tehran, Kharrazi stressed the 'pivotal role of unity' among Iraq's religious groups in accelerating transition of power to the Iraqis.

"Elections are a great development and an important factor in retaining Iraq's legal structures, which could pave the way for rulership of the people's will," Kharrazi said.

"Attention of all the Iraqi people and the country's national and sectarian groups to Iraq's unity and acceleration in the process of political transition is an important and pivotal issue," he added.

Hakim briefed the Iranian foreign minister on ongoing developments in Iraq, including 'aborted plots which aimed to escalate differences among national and ethnic groups'.

"The Iraqi people want an all-out participation in the upcoming elections, and the sources of religious following (Marja'iya) and all sectarian groups have been stressing the need for broad-based participation of all factions and seeking to turn over power to the Iraqi people and their genuine representatives," he added.

Hakim said, "The Iraqi people consider the political transition process as a step towards paving the way for resolution of Iraq's problems."

Shiite officials have announced that a list backed by Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani would be presented to the electoral commission on Wednesday.

Iraqi interim President Ghazi al-Yawr, who is a Sunni tribal elder, has also said that elections should go ahead next month as planned, rejecting several Sunni Arab politicians who are demanding the polls be postponed due to widespread unrest.

... Payvand News - 12/4/04 ... --

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