UN chief calls for de-escalation in Iraq amid protests

UN chief calls for de-escalation in Iraq amid protests

Tension escalated in Iraq following nomination of new prime minister by groups close to Iran

By Mohammad Tareq

ANKARA (AA) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday called on Iraqi parties to de-escalate the situation and avoid violence amid tension over the nomination of a new prime minister.

In a statement, his spokesperson Farhan Haq said the UN chief is "following with concern" the ongoing protests in Iraq that left many people injured.

"Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights that must be respected at all times," he said.

The spokesperson urged Iraqi parties and actors "to rise above their differences and form, through peaceful and inclusive dialogue, an effective national government."

Tension escalated in Iraq in recent days following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as a new prime minister by a coalition of groups close to Iran amid protests by supporters of influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Iraq has been in a political deadlock for nine months following the country’s general elections in October 2021 which failed since then to agree on a new government between rival parties.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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