Iraq's top cleric condemns US, Iran confrontation on Iraqi soil

Iraq's top Shi'ite Muslim cleric on Friday condemned mutual U.S. and Iranian attacks on Iraqi soil and warned of deteriorating security in the country and wider region as a result of Washington's standoff with Tehran.
The United States killed Iran's top military commander Qassem Soleimani and Iran-backed in an air strike next to Baghdad airport on Jan. 3. Iran responded late on Tuesday by firing missiles at U.S.-led forces in Iraq.
It was the most serious escalation of tension between the United States and Iran and raised fears of a full-scale conflict in the Middle East between the two foes.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said the attacks were a violation of sovereignty and that no foreign powers should be allowed to decide Iraq's fate.
Sistani delivered his message through a representative who spoke at Friday prayer in the holy city of Kerbala.
"The use of over-the-top methods by different sides which possess power and influence ... will only entrench the crisis and prevent a solution," the representative said.
"The latest dangerous aggressive acts, which are repeated violations of Iraqi sovereignty, are a part of the deteriorating situation" in the region, he said.
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