MIDDLE EAST

Sistani refuses to meet Khamenei's envoy

A poster of Shiite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, right, in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, May 22, 2014. (File photo: AP)

Iraqi sources revealed that the Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani refused to receive the Chairman of the Iranian Expediency Council Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi who was sent by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in order to visit Iraq and meet with its officials, after escalations among the pro-Tehran Shiite alliance.

Shahroudi asked to meet Al-Sistani during his visit to Najaf, which lasted for two or three days, as part of his tour inside Iraq, but Sistani refused to meet with him," Al-Ghad Press in Baghdad reported.

The sources did not reveal why Sistani refused to receive Shahroudi, according to the site.

Iranian sources have revealed that Khamenei asked Shahroudi to visit Iraq to unite the Shiite parties after the growing differences between them in preparation for joining, with a single list, the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Differences between the Shiite alliance

Shahroudi's visit to Iraq comes amid escalating differences between the Shiite alliance to nominate a new candidate, replacing Ammar al-Hakim, who split from the Supreme Council on July 24, founded the National Wisdom movement (Al-Hikmah).  Al-Hakim also received Shahroudi in Baghdad.

According to Fars News agency, Shahroudi told Hakim that they should not allow political issues and potential differences among politicians to negatively affect the morale of the Iraqi people, and that they should clarify the services and gains made for the Iraqi people.

The role of Shahroudi

Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei issued a decree on August 14 appointing Shahroudi, as chairman of the Expediency Council instead of his late president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, for five years.

Some groups in Iran oppose his candidacy to succeed "Al Murshid" because of his Iraqi nationality, despite the support he is getting from Khamenei and senior leaders of the Iranian regime.

But Shahroudi's supporters say Iraq did not make him lose his Iranian citizenship although he was born in the Iraqi city of Najaf, where his father was a teacher in the Shi'ite Hawza.

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Last Update: Monday, 4 September 2017 KSA 14:54 - GMT 11:54
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