A senior Iranian cleric has called for different political groups in Iraq to stand united against enemies, saying national unity is the sole way to prevent the country from disintegration.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi voiced concern over growing differences among various political groups in Iraq and said “national unity is the only way to prevent fragmentation in Iraq and drive the enemies out of this country.”
The Iranian cleric also urged all political groups in Iraq to exercise self-restraint and make sacrifices in an effort to sort out differences and reach national unity at the current highly sensitive juncture in the country.
Iraqi political parties can consider the views of Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani as the “final say” and ask him for his help to resolve the exiting issues as soon as possible, added Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi.
On June 29, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced support for the separation of Iraq’s northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region from the country, saying Kurds deserve independence.
The crisis in Iraq escalated after the ISIL Takfiri militants took control of Mosul in a lightning advance on June 10, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of the capital, Baghdad.
The Iraqi army, backed by tribal forces and volunteers, has been engaged in heavy battle with the militants on different fronts and has so far been able to push back militants in several areas, including in Tikrit.
According to the United Nations, more than one million people have been displaced in Iraq so far this year.