BEIRUT

Middle East

Iran's Supreme Leader throws weight behind Abadi

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressing thousands of Iranian in the northeast holy city of Mashhad as they celebrate Noruz, the Persian New Year March 21, 2014. (AFP Photo/Iranian Supreme Leader's website)

DUBAI: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lent his support to new Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi Wednesday, the clearest sign yet that Tehran was no longer standing by old ally Nouri al-Maliki.

"I hope the designation of the new prime minister in Iraq will untie the knot and lead to the establishment of a new government and teach a good lesson to those who aim for sedition in Iraq," Khamenei said during a meeting, according to a statement on his website.

Abadi has won swift endorsements from the United States and Iran as he called on political leaders to end feuds that have allowed Islamist militants to seize a third of Iraq. But Maliki said Wednesday that Abadi's appointment to replace him violated the constitution and "had no value."

 

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