Iraqi Shia leader mourned in Iran

Crowds gather in Tehran to mark the death of Abdel Aziz al-Hakim.

    Al-Hakim's body is to be flown to the Iraqi Shia city of Najaf after the memorial in Iran [AFP]

    'Great loss'

    His body was to be flown from the Iranian city of Qom, a seat of Shia learning about 100km south of Tehran, to Iraq, Iranian state media reported.

    A day earlier, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, called al-Hakim's death "a great loss for the Iraqi people".

    He paid particular tribute to al-Hakim's family, describing them as "revolutionaries", the official IRNA news agency reported on Wednesday.

    Al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), one of Iraq's most powerful Shia parties, spent nearly two decades in Iran during the rule of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's executed former leader.

    In 1982, he helped to establish an opposition movement in exile in Iran to fight Saddam's Sunni-dominated government, and returned to Iraq after the US-led invasion of 2003.

    The SIIC is currently part of Iraq's ruling Shia alliance, which includes the Dawa party of Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, but earlier this week announced it was joining a new alliance for elections next January.

    Much of the SIIC's support comes from the influence of the al-Hakim name, which is revered among Shia Muslims for its lineage of scholars and sacrifice during the rule of Saddam Hussein.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.