Iraqi Shiites sign petition blasting Iran
BAGHDAD – More than 300,000 Shiite Muslims from southern Iraq have signed a petition condemning Iran for fomenting violence in Iraq, according to a group of sheiks leading the campaign.
“The Iranians, in fact, have taken over all of south Iraq,” said a senior tribal leader from the south who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. “Their influence is everywhere.”
The unusually organized Iraqi rebuke illustrates the divisions that Iran has provoked among Iraq’s majority Shiites. The prime minister and major political blocs are closely tied to Iran, but the petition organizers said many citizens are fiercely opposed to Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs.
The petition, which the organizers said was signed by 600 sheiks, calls on the United Nations to send a delegation to investigate what it termed crimes committed by Iran and its proxies in southern Iraq.
The campaign echoes repeated pronouncements by U.S. officials that Iran has been instigating violence in Iraq and allowing weapons to flow across the border, though U.S. officials have said in recent weeks that Iran appeared to be honoring a pledge to clamp down on weapons smuggling.