Iraqi Shi'ites to Iran: Stop interfering

Over two million signatures gathered to stop Iraq from turning into "an Iranian protectorate."

iran iraq 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
iran iraq 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The signatures of more than two million Iraqi Shi'ites, demanding that Iran cease its interference in Iraq, were presented on Saturday during a convention in Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad, the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported. Representatives of more than 135 parties and organizations, as well as 1,000 tribal elders from Iraq's southern and central regions, attended the conference, titled "Solidarity with the Iraqi People." Also attending the event were representatives from the Iranian opposition group, Mujahidin Khalq. "We have gathered over two million signatures from Iraqi Shi'ites, calling on Iran to pull its hands off Iraq and especially the southern districts," said the leader of the Al-Humeidat tribe, Sheikh Ka'sid Najm during the conference. In an interview with A-Sharq Al-Awsat, Najm explained that Iranian interference in the southern regions had become obvious. He warned that if it did not stop, then Iraq would turn into "an Iranian protectorate." Shi'ite armed groups in Iraq are supported and trained by Iranian forces, in particular the Al-Quds Force, an elite unit affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards. Meanwhile, Iraq and Iran recently signed a security memorandum of understanding, which focused on clearing mine fields, recovering the remains of soldiers killed in the eight-year war and setting border lines between the two nations. The document was agreed upon during last week's visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to Teheran.