Top Iraqi cleric casts doubt on reforms offered to defuse unrest

Top Iraqi cleric casts doubt on reforms offered to defuse unrestIraq's top Shi'ite cleric on Monday expressed concern that the political elite is not serious about enacting reforms in the face of mass unrest and said protesters should not go home until concrete steps had been taken to meet their demands. Security forces shot dead two protesters in the city of Nassiriya, bringing to 300 the number of people have been killed since protests against political corruption, unemployment and poor public services erupted in Baghdad on Oct. 1 and spread to the southern Shi'ite heartlands. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who only speaks on politics in times of crisis and wields enormous influence over public opinion in Shi'ite-majority Iraq, on Monday met Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the U.N. mission chief in the country.




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