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Iranian Leader Declares Day of Mourning for Iraq

VOA News - 27 May 2004

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq of deliberately attacking Shi'ite holy sites and he declared Friday a national day of mourning for Iraq.

In a statement carried by Iran's official (IRNA) news agency, the Ayatollah said U.S. led forces have "ignored the sanctity of holy shrines" in the past few days.

He referred to the U.S. -led coalition forces in Iraq as "aggressors," and said their hands were once again soaked "in the blood of the oppressed Iraqi nation" during recent attacks in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. Coalition forces have been battling militiamen loyal to a radical Shi'ite cleric in both cities.

Announcing Friday as a national day of mourning, the Ayatollah said U.S. forces have "sown so much hatred and enmity" in the hearts of Iraqis that they will not be able to feel secure there for a long time.

The United States has expressed concern about Iran's influence among Iraq's Shi'ite majority and has warned Tehran against any attempt to stir up religious tensions.

... Payvand News - 5/27/04 ... --

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