News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqSpecial Report: Iran meddling in Iraq elections, Diyala -...

Special Report: Iran meddling in Iraq elections, Diyala – 2

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Iran Focus: Baghdad, Dec. 16 – Iraq’s Interior Ministry, already under a barrage of allegations of running secret torture chambers managed by agents of Iran’s intelligence services, was on Friday reported to have prevented Sunni voters from participating in Thursday’s parliamentary elections in the key province of Diyala, Iran Focus has learnt. Iran Focus

Baghdad, Dec. 16 – Iraq’s Interior Ministry, already under a barrage of allegations of running secret torture chambers managed by agents of Iran’s intelligence services, was on Friday reported to have prevented Sunni voters from participating in Thursday’s parliamentary elections in the key province of Diyala, Iran Focus has learnt.

The Iraqi Interior Minister Jabr Bayan, a senior official in the Iran-backed Shiite Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) is widely believed to have direct links to Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards. Based in Iran for two decades before the United States-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, SCIRI’s military wing, the Badr Brigade, were involved in a violent cross border struggle against Iraqi forces.

In the Sunni town of al-Khalis members of the Badr Brigade removed the names of several Sunni Arab lists at the polling stations, according to an official who requested anonymity.

“They were telling the people that they had to vote for the United [Iraqi”> Alliance list”, the official, reached by telephone, said.

Iran has been actively helping the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), led by its long-time ally, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the Shiite cleric who heads SCIRI.

The official said that police sources had confirmed the confiscation of a number of ballot boxes filled with forged ballots in favour of list “555”, which represents the UIA, in several of the polling stations.

A number of voting booths in areas where people were expected to vote for groups opposed to Iran’s ruling theocracy lacked sufficient ballot boxes for people to cast their votes. In one booth, only two of the 20 ballot boxes were made available.

There were several protests by Sunnis who were angry at the preventative measures taken against them reported in and around the city. Several polling stations were initially closed by officials of the Interior Ministry and later forced to be opened after demonstrations by Iraqis seeking to vote grew more intense.

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