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Sadr urges Iraqi parliament to initiate fundamental reforms

Influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called upon legislators to introduce sweeping reforms in the wake of ongoing anti-government protests in the country, dismissing any US and foreign intervention in Iraq’s domestic affairs.

Sadr, in a series of posts published on his Twitter page on Wednesday, called on Iraqi people to “continue (their) peaceful protests through rational means, and not to endanger Iraq and plunge the country into a dreadful [political] vacuum.”

“Revolutionaries should dispel the shadow of American or any foreign intervention; and even of those elements who are sitting behind the keyboards of their computers and implementing the US and others’ colonial schemes … Revolutionaries should not attack diplomatic missions or embassies, or chant slogans as such behavior does not fall within our ethics,” he pointed out.

The senior Iraqi Shia cleric then called on Iraqis, who have kept mum on the protests in the country, to play their share of role, urging Iraqi armed forces to protect demonstrators just as they liberated the strategic northern city of Mosul from the clutches of Daesh Takfiri terrorist group back in October 2016.

Sadr asked Iraqi parliamentarians to pass radical reforms, such as changing the Independent High Electoral Commission, electoral law and several constitutional clauses. 

He also called on public servants to accompany protesters, and go on a one-day national strike.

The top cleric also urged Friday prayers leaders across Iraq to lead peaceful demonstrations so that reforms can be put into practice seriously and without delay.

On Tuesday, Iraqi President Barham Salih said reforms, which the government of embattled Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has pledged to implement in the wake of anti-government protests, are a domestic Iraqi issue par excellence and will not be influenced by foreign diktats.

PressTV-‘Reforms in Iraq natl. decision, not affected by diktats’

‘Reforms in Iraq natl. decision, not affected by diktats’Iraqi President Barham Salih says expected reforms in Iraq are a national decision, and will not be influenced by foreign diktats.

Salih announced in a statement that the expected reforms in Iraq are merely an Iraqi decision and will be implemented in response to the national will of the Iraqi people, and will be untouched by outside influences.

The statement added that the Iraqi president opposes any foreign interference in Iraq’s internal affairs, and will not accept it.

The United States on Sunday urged the Iraqi government to hold early elections and carry out electoral reforms.

PressTV-US calls for early vote as fresh unrest hits Iraqi capital

US calls for early vote as fresh unrest hits Iraqi capitalThe US has called on Iraqi authorities to hold a snap election and stop confronting anti-government riots as more people lose their lives to the violence.

The White House, in a statement, called on “the the Iraqi government to halt the violence against protesters and fulfill President Salih’s promise to pass electoral reforms and hold early elections.”

Also on Tuesday, demonstrators clashed in the center of the capital Baghdad with security forces, who used stun grenades and tear gas canisters to disperse protests.

Many schools stayed closed as teachers and students went on strike across much of the southern part of the country.

Protesters in Iraq have directed their rage at a class of elite leaders, whom they accuse of pillaging the oil-rich country’s wealth while the population grows poorer.

The protests, which began more than a month ago, have often turned violent, with security forces opening fire and protesters torching government buildings.

PressTV-Iraq PM vows electoral reform, discourages disturbance

Iraq PM vows electoral reform, discourages disturbanceIraq’s prime minister says he recognizes the contribution that protests can make to political reforms.

Bassil al-Qazmi, a Baghdad-based writer and political analyst, told al-Jazeera television news network on Monday that Washington must be held accountable for bringing people who are “not sufficient to rule” to the table.

“When the US came with this constitution and political system [in 2003], they thought Iraqi politicians would only follow and be loyal to Washington,” he said.

Abdul Mahdi has vowed that the government and judiciary would continue to investigate the deaths of the protesters, and that all demonstrators who have been arrested in the past several weeks would be released.

PressTV-Iraq's Ayatollah Sistani urges security forces to keep peace

Iraq’s Ayatollah Sistani urges security forces to keep peaceGrand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani says Iraqi security forces are responsible for keeping the current protests peaceful.

According to President Salih, the 77-year old prime minister is willing to resign if parties agree on a replacement.

Earlier this week, Abdul Mahdi said new electoral reforms would be announced in the “coming few days.”

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