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Published: Friday July 11, 2014 MYT 10:25:05 PM
Updated: Friday July 11, 2014 MYT 10:26:01 PM

Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric calls for politicians to stop 'radical discourse'

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's top cleric called on Friday for bitterly divided politicians to "close ranks" and told them to stop what he called their "radical discourse".

Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Kurdish regional president Massoud Barzani have been in a war of words this week with Barzani warning Maliki should not stand for a third term and Maliki accusing the Kurdish capital Arbil of becoming a den for terrorists that have seized large parts of the country.

"We have repeatedly called for the closing of ranks and for unity and to refrain from radical discourse," Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the majority sect's most influential cleric, said in a sermon delivered by an aide.

(Reporting by Raheem Salman and Isra' al-Rubei'i; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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