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Iraq's Top Cleric Urges Reforms To Focus On Judiciary

Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has called on parliament and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to first focus their anticorruption campaign on improving the judiciary.

In remarks delivered on August 14 by his representative Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, Sistani called judicial reform "one of the most important aspects of the reform process."

Abadi announced on August 9 a reform program after weeks of protests and a call from Sistani. The Iraqi parliament approved the plan along with additional measures two days later.

On August 12 Abadi warned that the reform process "will not be easy; it will be painful," and that corrupt officials would try to obstruct change.

Last week Sistani called on Abadi to strike "with an iron fist" anyone who tampered with the people's money.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters