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Former Iraqi prime minister takes aim at Iran

By the CNN Wire Staff
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi says Iran is trying to destabilize the Middle East.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi says Iran is trying to destabilize the Middle East.
  • Ayad Allawi says that Iran is working to destabilize the Middle East
  • In Iraq there is an environment conducive to terrorism, he says
  • Other Middle East countries support a stable Iraq
  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Nuri al-Maliki

(CNN) -- Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi accused Iran of working to destabilize the Middle East in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS."

"We know that unfortunately Iran is trying to wreak havoc on the region, and trying to destabilize the region by destabilizing Iraq, and destabilizing Lebanon and destabilizing the Palestinian issue," Allawi said.

The region is "falling victim" to terrorist groups backed financially by Iran, he said.

Allawi's political opponent is the National Alliance, which is made up of the State of Law Coalition and the Iraqi National Alliance -- a coalition of powerful Shiite parties backed by Iran.

The alliance, which has nominated current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as its prime minister candidate, now has a bloc with 159 seats. To form a government, a 163-seat majority out of 325 seats is needed.

Iraqiya, a largely secular and cross-sectarian bloc, has already said it won't participate in any government headed by al-Maliki.

In Iraq, there is an environment that is conducive to terrorism, he said. Among the factors he cited were the fact that there is still no government formed eight months after the elections, a stagnant economy, high unemployment and a lack of services.

"Definitely in Iraq I can say categorically that Iran is trying even to bring about change to the political process according to their wishes and requirements," Allawi said.

Zakaria asked Allawi if he suspected that a group backed by Iran was responsible for last week's roadside bombing that killed four members of his Iraqiya party. Allawi didn't assign blame to Iran, but said that there are many forces trying to influence the situation in Iraq.

Other countries in the Middle East are supportive of a strong, stable Iraq, he said.

"I don't believe that there are leaders in the region who are trying to fuel extremism and bring about sectarianism. Unfortunately, only Iran," Allawi said.