Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has called for unity among the religious and political sects in Iraq to calm tensions over the closure of an anti-government protest camp in Anbar province.
Iran has always stressed the need for more active participation of different religious sects and political groups in governance of Iraq, the Iranian parliament speaker said in a Tuesday telephone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart Osama al-Nujaifi.
The telephone conversation came after 44 members of the Iraqi parliament announced their resignation on Monday in protest at the dismantling of the camp in the city of Ramadi, where a total of 17 people, including four security officers, were killed in fighting between gunmen and security forces.
Larijani expressed his sadness with the lawmakers' decision, saying their resignation would not solve the issue and that “the problem can only be solved through dialogue and cooperation.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the army on Tuesday to leave the province and turn over the control of the cities to “the local and federal police.”
On December 22, Maliki described the protest camp as “a headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda,” and urged the protesters to leave the camp.
Iraq has been the scene of anti-government demonstrations since December 2012, when bodyguards of then finance minister Rafa al-Essawi were arrested on terrorism-related charges, with protesters alleging that the arrests were made on sectarian grounds.