RealNews

Iran Says It's Not Backing Radical Iraqi

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Monday that his government is not supporting the uprising by Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and blamed U.S. troops for the fighting in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. “We have never taken sides in favor or against any group or faction in Iraq,” Khatami was quoted as telling reporters when asked if Iran backs al-Sadr, whose militiamen are battling with U.S. and Iraqi government forces in Najaf and elsewhere. Iran, a Shiite Muslim country with close ties to Iraq’s majority Shiite population, is believed to want to counter U.S. influence in Iraq and to be trying to ensure future Iraqi governments are friendly with Iran. The Iranian government insists it is not interfering in Iraq. Full Story

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