Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani urged leaders to abandon partisan politics in choosing a new head of government and said he would have no involvement in efforts to replace Adil Abdul Mahdi.
Iraq's top Shia Muslim cleric said on Friday that a new prime minister must be chosen without foreign interference after the incumbent Adil Abdul Mahdi announced his resignation a week ago.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani urged political leaders to abandon partisan politics in choosing a new head of government and said he would have no involvement in efforts to replace Abdul Mahdi.
"We hope a new head of government and its members will be chosen within the constitutional deadline" of 15 days since the resignation was formalised in parliament on Sunday, a representative of Sistani said in his Friday sermon in the holy city of Karbala.
"It must also take place without any foreign interference," he said.
Abdul Mahdi pledged to step down on Friday last week after Sistani urged lawmakers to reconsider their support for the government following two months of anti-establishment protests where security forces have killed more than 400 demonstrators.
Iraq's two main allies, the United States and Iran, have acted as power brokers in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, although Tehran's allies have mostly dominated state institutions since then.
Iranian officials including the powerful commander of its Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, stepped in to prevent Abdul Mahdi's resignation in October, Reuters reported.
Soleimani was reported to be in Baghdad this week.
Rockets hit Balad base
Two Katyusha rockets landed inside Iraq's Balad air base on Thursday, the Iraqi military said, and no casualties or damages were reported from the attack.
Balad base hosts US forces and contractors and is located about 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Baghdad.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
On Tuesday, five rockets landed on Ain Al Asad air base, which hosts US forces in Anbar province in western Iraq without causing any casualties.