Iraq`s Parliament speaker meets US, Iranian officials

Iraq`s Parliament speaker warns Iran not to interfere in domestic affairs.

Updated: Nov 15, 2010, 09:17 AM IST

Baghdad: Iraq Parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi held separate meetings on Sunday with the ambassadors of the US and Iran, warning the latter not to interfere in domestic affairs.

Al-Nujaifi, who is a member of the Iraqiya List, said he told Iranian Ambassador Hassan Danaii that improving ties should take place "on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs".

The Iraqiya List, led by former prime minister Iyad Allawi, has long accused Iran of interfering in Iraq`s political affairs. Supporters of Iraqiya have even blamed Iran for Allawi`s upset loss to rival Nuri al-Maliki, who was elected for a second term as prime minister on Thursday.

Al-Maliki`s success in securing the top post in government came after eight months of political wrangling and trips by Iraq`s leaders to seek support in neighbouring countries, including Iran.

For its part, Iran welcomed on Sunday the decision of Iraq`s political parties to form a new coalition government, ISNA news agency reported.

Al-Nujaifi also briefed US Ambassador James Jeffrey on the latest political developments.

The Prime Minister is currently in talks with the various political blocs on forming a cabinet, according to his aides. After the Islamic Eid holidays, members of Parliament are expected to meet to discuss the scope of a new council on national strategy, the leadership of which Allawi was offered, but has yet to accept.