Iranian president meets Iraq’s most senior Shiite cleric

The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met the cleric on the third day during his visit to Iraq. (AFP)
Updated 13 March 2019
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Iranian president meets Iraq’s most senior Shiite cleric

  • Rouhani met with the cleric in Al-Sistani base in Najaf
  • The meeting might help the Iranian president regain some of his popularity

TEHRAN: Iran’s official IRNA news agency says President Hassan Rouhani has met with Iraq’s most senior Shiite cleric — the first such meeting for an Iranian leader.
The report says Rouhani met with Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani on the third and last day of his official visit to Iraq. Wednesday’s meeting took place at Al-Sistani’s base in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf.
Former hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not meet with Iranian-born cleric Al-Sistani during his 2008 visit to Iraq.
Al-Sistani rarely meets officials. He received the UN envoy to Iraq, Jan Kubis, last November.
Rouhani is likely to score points at home over the meeting. He is under increasing pressure by hard-liners and struggling with an economic crisis that has emboldened critics to openly call for his ouster.


US-led 2017 blitz on Syria’s Raqqa killed 1,600 civilians

Updated 25 April 2019
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US-led 2017 blitz on Syria’s Raqqa killed 1,600 civilians

  • The unprecedented investigation was led by Amnesty International and the Airwars monitoring group
  • It urged top coalition members to show more transparency and accountability

BEIRUT: Intensive US-led coalition bombardment on the Syrian city of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians over four months in 2017, according to a report released on Thursday.
The unprecedented investigation, led by Amnesty International and the Airwars monitoring group, urged top coalition members to show more transparency and accountability.
“Many of the air bombardments were inaccurate and tens of thousands of artillery strikes were indiscriminate,” said Donatella Rovera, crisis response adviser at Amnesty.