Nuclear scientist rejects leadership of Iraq, envoy says
A Shiite Muslim nuclear scientist tabbed as the top candidate for prime minister of an Iraqi government that is due to take power June 30 does not want the job, the U.N. envoy said Wednesday.
The scientist, Hussain al-Shahristani, who was imprisoned for years under former President Saddam Hussein, was among several people being considered for the post, Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, president of the Iraqi Governing Council, confirmed Wednesday.
U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who was in Baghdad helping Iraqis agree on an interim government that will take over June 30, said he met al-Shahristani and thought highly of him, Ahmed Fawzi, Brahimi's spokesman, said in a statement.
"Mr. Shahristani, however, has himself clarified that he would prefer to serve his country in other ways," the statement said, without elaborating.