Iranians, Iraqis mourn death of Shi’ite leader

Last Updated: Thursday, August 27, 2009 - 13:30

Tehran: Thousands of people in Iran flocked to a mourning ceremony to show their respects to the influential Iraqi Shi’ite leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who died on Wednesday in Tehran.

The ceremony on Thursday held at the Iraqi embassy in Tehran was attended by many Iranian officials including Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as well as hundreds of Iraqi expatriates.

Al-Hakim was a revered leader within Iraq`s Shi’ite community where he rose to power after the fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

He had close ties with Iran after living for 20 years in exile there before Saddam`s ouster.

According to al-Hakim`s political party, his body will be flown from the Iranian city of Qom to the Iraqi city of Basra on Thursday for burial in Iraq.

Iran’s Khamenei hails al-Hakim

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has praised leading Iraqi Shi’ite politician Abdel Aziz al-Hakim as the symbol of the struggle against Saddam Hussein`s regime as Iranians mourned his death.

"His death is a big loss for the Iraqi people and government, and is a painful incident for the Islamic Republic (of Iran)," said Khamenei, in a message read at the mourning ceremony in Tehran where Hakim died in hospital yesterday.

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First Published: Thursday, August 27, 2009 - 13:30

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