Senior Iran official congratulates new Iraq PM designate

by Reuters
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 12:26 GMT

(Corrects position of official, first paragraph)

DUBAI, Aug 12 (Reuters) - The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council on Tuesday congratulated Haider al-Abadi for his nomination as the new Iraqi prime minister, state-run al-Alam television's website reported.

Iraq's president named Abadi as the new prime minister to end Nuri al-Maliki's eight-year rule on Monday, but the veteran leader refused to go after deploying militias and special forces on the streets, creating a dangerous political showdown in Baghdad.

Iranian officials had said recently that Iran believed Maliki was no longer able to hold his country together and that it was looking for an alternative leader to combat a Sunni Islamist insurgency.

(Reporting by Mehrdad Balali; Writing by Yara Bayoumy Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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