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Khamenei defends Maliki

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has defended the Shia-led government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

In an address in Tehran on Saturday, Khamenei said the conflict in neighboring Iraq is not a war between Shia and Sunni Muslims, but a battle between terrorism and people who oppose it. Iran is a predominantly Shia country.

Khamenei also described the fighting as a war between the lovers of the West and supporters of the independence of the nations.

Western powers are pressuring Maliki to step down to restore national unity in Iraq.

Jun. 28, 2014 - Updated 17:14 UTC