Iraqi lawmaker calls for removal of Khamenei’s posters in Baghdad

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A poster in Baghdad which shows the faces of Khamenei, Qassem Soleimani, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes. — Courtesy photo
A poster in Baghdad which shows the faces of Khamenei, Qassem Soleimani, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes. — Courtesy photo

Yaghoub Fazeli

DUBAI — An outspoken Iraqi lawmaker questioned on Wednesday why authorities put up posters and images of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iraq, after a large poster put up in the capital Baghdad in preparation for Iran’s Quds Day caused an uproar amongst Iraqis.

An image shared on social media showed a large poster in Baghdad which included the faces of Khamenei, slain military commander Qasem Soleimani, former supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and slain Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes.

The poster was put up in preparation for Iran’s annual Quds Day, which is held on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

“What is the purpose of putting up images of Khamenei in Iraq?” Iraqi lawmaker Faiq Al Sheikh Ali tweeted on Wednesday.

Arguing that there is no basis for having posters of Khamenei in Iraq, Al Sheikh Ali said in the same tweet that Khamenei is a foreign political leader, and that Iraq has many of its own Shiite clerics, thus there is no justification for having his images in Iraq.

The streets of many Iraqi cities, including the capital Baghdad, are filled with posters and images of Iranian figures, such as Khamenei, and Soleimani.

Many Iraqis on Twitter pointed out that while there are countless images of Iranian leaders in their country, there are no images of Iraqi leaders in Iran.

“Why does the Iraqi government allow images of Iranian figures to be put up in Iraq, when Iran does not allow the opposite? Children of Iraq ... remove the images of Khamenei and his followers wherever you find them and burn them,” Shiite Iraqi cleric Ayatollah Hassan Al-Moussawi tweeted.

Iraqi demonstrators protesting Iran’s role in their country took down, ripped up and torched many posters of Iranian leaders, including Khamenei, Khomeini and Soleimani during the country’s nationwide protests at the end of last year.

In recent days, Iraqi social media users launched a hashtag against Khamenei in response to what they consider interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.

Khamenei said in a speech on Sunday that the US “will be expelled” from Syria and Iraq.

Iraqis took to Twitter to attack Khamenei following his remarks by tweeting using an Arabic hashtag that read “Khamenei stick to your limits.”

The hashtag quickly gained traction as thousands of Iraqis expressed their opposition to Iran’s involvement in Iraq.

Iranian users expressed their support for the Iraqis by tweeting using the same Arabic hashtag, saying that the Iranian regime is an enemy of both nations. — Al Arabiya English


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