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Sadr Wants Talabani to Step Down

Iraqi Shiite Leader Muqtada Al-Sadr is seeking to appoint a new president as questions linger about President Jalal Talabani's return to Iraq.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (L) speaks next to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey during one of several planned ceremonies to mark the end of American military presence in Iraq, in Baghdad December 1, 2011. The last 13,000 U.S. troops will pull out of Iraq by the end of the year. Violence in the country has dropped sharply since the heights of sectarian slaughter in 2006-2007, but at least 10 people were killed in a bombing just north of the capital Baghdad. REUTERS/Khalid Mohammed/Pool (IRAQ - Tags:
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The May 17 publication of four photos of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani created an atmosphere of joy and celebration among supporters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), especially in the Talabani stronghold of Sulaymaniyah. The images are the first to be released in the five months since Talabani's transfer to Germany on Dec. 20, 2012, for medical treatment following a stroke.

Amid the positive outpouring of emotion, the photos' release raised questions among observers about their timing and about statements made by Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim, who is also Talabani's doctor, and the German physicians treating the president.

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