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Iraq Parliament Prepares for Security Pact Vote


Iraqi lawmakers are making a final push to line up support ahead of a vote on a security plan with the United States.

Parliament is set to vote Wednesday on the pact, which would extend the U.S. military presence in Iraq for another three years.

The plan is expected to pass, despite opposition from supporters of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who denounce it as a humiliation.

Iraq's neighbor Iran has also criticized the deal, with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani Tuesday saying it violates Iraqi sovereignty.

Iraq's ruling coalition has urged passage of the pact, saying a precipitous U.S. troop withdrawal could destabilize the country. The pact would replace the U.N. mandate for a U.S. presence, which expires at the end of next month.

The new security agreement calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraqi cities by June, and from the country by the end of 2011. Both sides have said the deal signals a firm commitment but that it could be renegotiated.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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