Iran Accused of Interference

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- U.S. officials have expressed concerns about the seemingly cozy relationship between the hardline Iranian regime and the U.S.-backed government in Iraq, but tensions have been simmering between the two neighbors that share the Shia Islam faith.

On the same day that Baghdad, Tehran and Washington announced another round of talks on Iraqi security issues, Iraqi Shiite groups announced Tuesday that more than 300,000 Iraqi Shiites signed a petition condemning what they call "Iranian terrorist interferences in Iraq."

In the petition -- which took six months to finalize -- the groups demanded "the United Nations ... dispatch a delegation to investigate the four years (of) crimes in the southern provinces by the Iranian regime and its proxies," according to a press release from the Independent National Tribal Organization in Southern Iraq.

The petition has the support 14 clergies, 600 sheikhs, 1,250 jurists, 2,200 doctors, engineers, university professors and 25,000 women, the release stated.

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