AFP: A top Iranian Shiite Muslim cleric on Friday blamed the United States for the latest wave of killings in Iraq where Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents have declared war on the majority Shiites. AFP
TEHRAN – A top Iranian Shiite Muslim cleric on Friday blamed the United States for the latest wave of killings in Iraq where Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents have declared war on the majority Shiites.
“Killing in Iraq is on the rise. It is no longer tens of dead but now stands at hundreds. The US is not ashamed of what they have caused and they are not leaving the area,” Ayatollah Ahmad Janati told worshippers at weekly prayers.
“Now that the elected Iraqi government wants to put to vote the draft constitution and seeks to establish peace, the US is constantly trying to say that this government … can not establish tranquility, and it sows differences,” he added amid chants of “Death to America.”
Janati who heads Iran’s powerful Guardians Council, a constitutional watchdog that screens all laws and elections, charged that Washington was “trying to make the Sunnis fearful of the Shiites and vice versa”.
On Wednesday, a suicide car bomber killed 112 people, most of them Shiites waiting to be hired as day laborers, in the Shiite district of Kadhimiyah in the Iraqi capital.
And a suicide car bomber Friday killed at least 10 people when he blew himself up outside a Shiite mosque in the central Iraqi town of Tuz Khurmatu as worshippers headed out after prayers.
Al-Qaeda’s frontman in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has called for “total war” against the country’s Shiites.
Iran’s foreign ministry condemned the suicide bombings in Baghdad as “contrary to Islamic values” but said they were further proof that the United States had failed to secure the country.
The Islamic republic, where some 90 percent of the population is Shiite, vehemently opposes the US presence in Iraq and has repeatedly demanded the withdrawal of American troops.