Iraqi Prime Minister Kadhimi says he will not run in upcoming elections, calls for crackdown on uncontrolled weapons after yet another activist is assassinated

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi held a press conference on Sunday to clarify his stance on the upcoming elections. He stated that he would not run in the upcoming elections and that he did not take this decision under any pressure. He also indicated that his political project is to succeed in organizing fair elections.

Kadhimi added that some parties tried to draw him into favoring one party or another, but he believes he managed to maintain a neutral stance.

He also stated that weapons should be in the hands of the state only and that the government is serious about fighting the scourge of uncontrolled weapons plaguing the country.

Kadhimi’s statements come as massive demonstrations are taking place in Karbala Governorate over the killing of activist Ihab al-Wazni by unknown gunmen. The demonstrators gathered and burned tires in front of the Iranian consulate, raising slogans and denouncing the assassinations of activists. The demonstrators accused armed groups close to Iran of being behind it.

In a press statement, the Human Rights Commission of Iraq condemned the assassination of al-Wazni called on Kadhimi to protect activists and people of free opinion from assassination. It also demanded that the results of investigations of previous assassinations be made public and for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to take appropriate measures to protect activists and media professionals, bring the perpetrators to justice, and strengthen security and intelligence effort.