Iraqi firefighters hose down a burned car after a car bomb attack in the oil rich city of Kirkuk, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, July 25, 2014. (AP/Photo)
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Speaking through an aide who delivered a sermon after Friday prayers in the city of Karbala, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said leaders should show flexibility so that political deadlocks could be broken and Iraq could confront militants.Sistani said it is time for politicians to think of Iraq's interests, not their own.Maliki has ruled since an election in April in a caretaker capacity, dismissing demands from Sunnis and Kurds that he step aside for a less polarizing figure, and even some Shiites oppose his bid for a third term.Earlier in the week, senior politicians said Maliki rejected the latest attempt, made by Iran, to persuade him to step down.The two politicians told The Associated Press that during a recent meeting in Baghdad, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran's point man in Iraq, tried to persuade Maliki to drop his bid to stay in office.
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