Iran hopes new Maliki government will mark the end of occupation
AFP, Thursday 23 Dec 2010

Iran expressed hope on Thursday that the new Iraqi government would help stabilise the war-torn country and lead to the exit of the "occupiers," the ISNA news agency reported.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the formation of the new Iraq government an important and positive step forward in Iraq's development and hopes that this move leads to more stability, security and welfare of the Iraqi people," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by ISNA.

Mehmanparast said that Tehran hopes that the formation of the new government will lead to "complete independence and exit of occupiers."
Iran has regularly called for US troops to leave Iraq, citing their presence as the main cause of violence in its western neighbour.

The Iraqi parliament on Tuesday passed a vote of confidence in a national unity government formed by premier Nuri al-Maliki after more than nine months of political wrangling following an inconclusive general election.

In mid-November Tehran welcomed Iraq's new power-sharing pact, which returned Maliki, a Shiite, as premier, left Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, as president and a Sunni Arab, Osama al-Nujaifi, from ex-premier Iyad Allawi's Iraqiya bloc as parliament speaker.

The deal came after an eight-month-long vacuum of power accompanied by worrisome outbreaks of violence as Iraq's sectarian factions struggled to form a government in the wake of March 7 elections.

Iran and Saddam Hussein's Iraq fought a bloody eight-year war in the 1980s which left almost a million people dead on both sides.
Ties between predominantly Shiite Iran and Shiite-majority Iraq have warmed considerably since the overthrow of Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime in a US-led invasion in 2003.