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Iraq Vote Winner Allawi Accuses Iran Of Interference

Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is accusing Iran of seeking to prevent him from becoming prime minister again following his bloc's win in Iraq's national elections.

Allawi -- whose cross-sectarian Al-Iraqiyah alliance finished first with 91 seats in the 325-member Council of Representatives in the March 7 vote -- told the BBC that he believed Tehran was interfering "quite heavily" in Iraq's political process, and that this interference was "worrying."

Allawi said authorities in the Islamic republic had so far invited representatives of all the major Iraqi parties for talks in Tehran -- except for his bloc.

Allawi, a secularist Shi'a whose bloc also earned electoral support from minority Sunnis, said he believed the Iranian regime wanted to stop him from becoming prime minister again.

Current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose State Of Law coalition finished second in the elections with 89 seats, has been seeking to remain in power for a second term by negotiating a possible union with a rival Shi'ite bloc.

compiled from agency reports