HUFFINGTON POST

Iran's Supreme Leader Backs Iraq's New Prime Minister

In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei s
In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting with judiciary officials in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, June 22, 2014. Iran's top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday he is against US intervention in neighboring Iraq, where Islamic extremists and Sunni militants opposed to Tehran have seized a number of towns and cities, the official IRNA news agency reported. (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)

DUBAI, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lent his support to new Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi on Wednesday, the clearest sign yet that Tehran was no longer standing by old ally Nuri al-Maliki.

"I hope the designation of the new prime minister in Iraq will untie the knot and lead to the establishment of a new government and teach a good lesson to those who aim for sedition in Iraq," Khamenei said during a meeting, according to a statement on his website.

Abadi has won swift endorsements from the United States and Iran as he called on political leaders to end feuds that have allowed Islamist militants to seize a third of Iraq. But Maliki said on Wednesday that Abadi's appointment to replace him violated the constitution and "had no value". (Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Mark Heinrich)