Iraqi people will prevent others from exploiting their legitimate concerns: Iran FM

Iraqi people will prevent others from exploiting their legitimate concerns: Iran FM Iraqi people will prevent others from exploiting their legitimate concerns: Iran FM

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Iraqi nation’s vigilance will prevent foreigners from taking advantage of recent protests in the Arab country to advance their own interests.

“We believe that the Iraqi people are owners of the country and their rights need to be observed,” Zarif said in an interview with ICANA on Wednesday.

“Officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran believe that the Iraqi people are vigilant and will not allow others to exploit their legitimate concerns that are also recognized by the Iraqi government,” he added.

Iraqi protests broke out last week, with calls to reduce corruption and unemployment.

The rallies soon turned into riots as some protesters started vandalizing public properties and attempted to enter the Green Zone in Baghdad -- which houses government offices and foreign diplomatic missions.

The clashes have killed over 100 people and wounded more than 6,000 others.

Iraqi officials say there are "malicious hands" behind the killing of both protesters and security forces during the recent spate of unrest in the country. 

On Monday, Iraqi President Barham Salih condemned as “unacceptable’’ the recent acts of violence targeting protesters, journalists and security forces, and urged security forces to preserve the rights of all Iraqis.

He also warned against foreign attempts to fish in troubled waters.

In a televised speech, Salih also called for ministerial changes and urged parliament to enact reforms, including electoral reform, to address the demands of protesters.

He also called for restraint and de-escalation in order to prevent non-Iraqis from interfering in the national dialog.  

Iraq's top Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has also urged security forces and protesters not to use violence.

In a letter read out by his representative Ahmed al-Safi during a sermon in the holy city of Karbala on Friday, the top cleric also criticized officials and political sides for failing to answer the demands of the people to fight corruption, urging them to heed the demands of the protesters “before it's too late.”

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s cabinet approved the second package of reforms, including distribution of residential plots of land to citizens, expansion of municipal borders of cities, and changing agricultural land into residential.

The planned reforms also contain freezing the law, which allows payment of several salaries to one public servant, providing jobs for young people and activation of the agricultural lending fund.

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