Senior Iranian official congratulates new Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi

The Guardian reports: A senior Iranian official with close links to the country’s president and supreme leader has offered his congratulations to Iraq’s prime minister-designate, suggesting Tehran has abandoned former ally Nouri al-Maliki amid the current Sunni militant insurgency.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s powerful Supreme National Security Council, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency congratulating the Iraqi people and their leaders for choosing Haider al-Abadi as their new prime minister.

Abadi, a veteran of Iraq’s post-Saddam Hussein governments, was appointed on Monday after the country’s president effectively deposed Maliki in an effort to break the political deadlock that has paralysed the government while jihadists sweep through the north of the country.

Shamkhani, a close ally of President Hassan Rouhani and a representative of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the council, said Iran supported “the legal process for choosing the new Iraqi prime minister”.

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