Iraqi PM Agrees to Resign After Top Cleric Sistani’s Call

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An Iraqi anti-government protester waves a national flag close to a concrete barricade amidst clashes with security forces along Baghdad’s Rasheed Street on Friday. — AFP

BAGHDAD (Reuters) — Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced his resignation on Friday after the country’s top cleric urged lawmakers to reconsider their support for a government rocked by weeks of deadly anti-establishment unrest.

The move was the latest twist in an unprecedented crisis for war-weary Iraq, which has struggled to recover from decades of conflict, civil unrest and sanctions.

The departure of Abdul Mahdi could be a blow for Iranian influence after Iran’s militia allies and its own commanders intervened last month to keep the premier in place despite mass anti-government unrest.

Iraq’s biggest unrest for years pits protesters from Shia heartlands in Baghdad and the south against the ruling elite seen as a pawn of Iran.

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