27 February 2004

Iraqi Cleric Calls for Vote by Year's End

In a statement issued by his office in Najaf, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani demanded 'clear guarantees, such as a Security Council resolution,' to fix a date so 'there is no more postponement and prolonging.'

It was al-Sistani's first public comment on elections since U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ruled out a vote by June 30, the date the United States plans to return sovereignty to Iraqis.

Al-Sistani said that although the United Nations decided an election was not feasible before then, its suggestion that the vote could be held by year's end 'is of great significance.'

Washington also has argued that elections could not be held before the transfer of power because of the absence of electoral laws and voter rolls.

Doesn't al-Sistani know that these days no one can now doubt the word of America?

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