By The Free Iranian Staff
Grand Ayatollah Sistani, the highest-ranking Shi’a cleric in Iraq, announced his support for the Iraqi protestors today during his Friday sermon, and declared that “no foreign force should impose their will on the Iraqi people.”
The representative who read Sistani’s sermon to a crowd outside his mosque in Karbala also added, “No one, no party, no conspiracy, whether domestic-based or internationally-driven, should impose their desires upon the Iraqi people.”
Sistani also stated that any reforms in Iraq should be driven by the wishes of the Iraqi people, not the ideology of a particular party. He condemned the violence of the past few weeks, and asked the various parties to not pressure the Iraqi armed forces in regard to how to deal with the demonstrators.
Thousands of protestors marched in the center of Baghdad as Sistani’s sermon was being read.
In the meantime, the Reuters news agency has reported that Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC-Qods Force, has prevented the fall of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s government. Soleimani had earlier been quoted as telling Iraqi leaders that “We in Iran know how to deal with protests, this happened in Iran and we got it under control.”
Iraq’s President, Barham Salih, however, stated that Abdul-Mahdi was willing to resign.
Sistani’s Friday sermon can also be perceived as an indirect reply to Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Tehran’s Khomeiniist regime. On Wednesday, Khamenei had blamed the United States for fomenting the protests in Iraq, accusing “America and Western intelligence services” of inflicting damage and of creating “chaos” in the region.
For its part, the United States has accused Iran of interfering in Iraq’s affairs. On Thursday, Brian Hook, head of the Iran Action Group at the U.S. State Department, stated that Iran had spent $16 billion on arming its Iraqi and Syrian proxy militias.
In photos and videos posted over social media these last few weeks, Iraqi protestors have chanted slogans against the Tehran regime for exerting influence in, and lording over, their country, while suppressing their human rights.
Protesters in #Iraq are frustrated of constant interferences of islamic regime in their domestic affairs& violation of their sovereignty, so they demonstrate their fury by hitting placards of Iran’s supreme leader & Gen. Soleimani, demanding them to leave Iraq.pic.twitter.com/nZqkyrysry
— ?بامداد (@bamdad_azad) November 1, 2019