Sistani's aide said the ayatollah had laid the letter aside and did not ask for a translation because of increasing "unhappiness" over American meddling in Iraq's government.
According to several Iraqi politicians, the Bush administration has made it known in no uncertain terms that they don't want the position of Iraqi Prime Minister to be filled by Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the leading choice of the Shi'a majority, because he's unpopular with Sunni and Kurds.
According to the Iraqi Constitution, the largest bloc in Parliament, in this case the religious Shiites, has the right to nominate a prime minister. Mr. Jaafari won that nomination last month, but his victory was a narrow one: he won by only one vote after getting the support of Moqtada al-Sadr, who controls 32 seats. Sadr's representatives have indicated that Jaafari has agreed to meet their demands in exchange for their votes, potentially giving them control of Iraqi service ministries such as health, transportation and electricity.
"(US Ambassador to Iraq) Khalilzad said Mr. Bush "doesn't want, doesn't support, doesn't accept" Mr. Jaafari as the next prime minister." - a senior aide to Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, leader of Iraq's majority Shi'ite political bloc.
"I want the Iraqi people to hear I've got great confidence in their capacity to self govern." - George W. Bush, March 29, 2006.