Iraq's top cleric calls for deal on PM by Tuesday


BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's top Shiite cleric today called on political blocs to agree on the next prime minister before the newly elected parliament sits next week, stepping up pressure on political leaders to set aside their differences and form an inclusive government in the face of Sunni militants who have seized large swaths of territory. The call by the Iranian-born Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani came as the incumbent, Nouri al-Maliki, was fighting to keep his job, with his erstwhile Shiite allies and even key patron Iran exploring alternatives in the face of Iraq's worst crisis since U.S. troops withdrew at the end of 2011.

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