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The prime minister defended his government’s ties with another neighbor, Iran.

Mr. al-Maliki has served two terms as prime minister. In response to a question on whether he would seek a third term, he laughed, saying that is for the Iraqi people to decide.

Responding to critics who say he is consolidating power at the cost of Iraq’s democratic process, Mr. al-Maliki said the constitution is ruling Iraq.

“If I act in an unconstitutional way, please let me know when and how and tell me to go back to the constitution,” he said.