"My statements on the Shiite crescent were blown out of proportion by some in Iran and interpreted to the contrary of my intentions," said the monarch in an interview with Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper. AFP
KUWAIT CITY - Jordan's King Abdullah II said in comments published here Thursday that his declarations about a Shiite "crescent" were "blown out of proportion" by certain quarters in Iran.
"My statements on the Shiite crescent were blown out of proportion by some in Iran and interpreted to the contrary of my intentions," said the monarch in an interview with Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper.
Last month the king accused Shiite Iran of trying to influence the Iraqi elections in a bid to create a "crescent" dominated by Shiites extending from Iraq to Lebanon.
Iran rejected the accusations and its foreign minister Kamal Kharazi stayed away from a conference of Iraq's neighbours which opened in Amman Thursday.
Sunni Arab governments like Jordan's have repeatedly voiced concern that the influence of the Islamic republic will be boosted following a victory by Iraq's Shiite majority in the January 30 polls.
"Iraqis alone have the right to determine their future by taking part in an election free of external influence that may produce a government... which represents a group at the expense of another," said Abdullah.
His statements would "never be directed against the Shiites," the monarch said. "We are keen to see the Sunnis and Shiites together as they have always been."
The king also called on all Iraqis to take part in the polls, saying boycotting the elections is not in Iraq's interests.
"We expect that all religious groups and political parties will take part in the elections ... Calls by some to boycott the elections are not in the interest of Iraq," said Abdullah.