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Iraq FM denies outside pressure over Syria stance

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BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s foreign minister says Baghdad is not taking "orders" from other countries when it comes to dealing with Syria, alluding to accusations that it had bowed to pressure from neighboring Iran.

Iraq was the only country to abstain on Saturday when the Arab League voted to suspend Syria over its bloody, eight-month long crackdown on protesters calling for reforms.

During a press conference Monday, Hoshyar Zebari refuted claims that Iraq’s decision to abstain from the vote was due to pressure from other countries. He didn’t name any one country specifically but Iran, which also has a Shiite majority, maintains a strong influence in Iraq.

Zebari described the Arab League decision as "tough" and said anything that happens in Syria will affect Iraq.

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