Addressing worshipers during Friday prayers in the holy city of Karbala, Ayatollah Sistani’s representative Seyed Ahmed al-Safi said the top cleric has urged protesters to prevent attacks on people and their property and distance themselves from those committing such acts.
“It is imperative on peaceful demonstrators that they separate their ranks from non-peaceful individuals and cooperate on shunning saboteurs - whoever they are - and not allow them to abuse peaceful protests to damage and attack the property of citizens," Safi said, according to al-Furat News website.
“The enemies and their levers, in order to achieve their malicious goals, plan to spread chaos and plunge the country into internal strife and then return it to dictatorship, so everyone must work together to take away this opportunity from them,” he added.
The remarks come two days after rioters, who have been wreaking havoc in various parts of Iraq over the past weeks by infiltrating peaceful protests against corruption and poverty, stormed and set fire to Iran’s diplomatic mission in the holy city of Najaf.
Over 300 people have been killed in the Iraq unrest since October 1, according to the Iraqi parliament’s human rights commission.
Earlier this month, Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari said a “third party” was behind shootings targeting demonstrators.