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Sistani Calls on U.N. to Back Iraqi Elections

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani says he will accept a caucus-elected government in July if the United Nations guarantees direct elections will be held in Iraq by 2005. Sistani, Iraq's most prominent Shiite cleric, had previously insisted that elections take place by June 30, the date targeted by the United States for a transfer of power to an Iraqi government. Hear NPR's Ivan Watson.

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Ivan Watson
Ivan Watson is currently based in Istanbul, Turkey. Following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, he has served as one of NPR's foreign "firemen," shuttling to and from hotspots around the Middle East and Central Asia.