Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday that the United States ambassador to Baghdad had requested a 10-day or two-week postponement of the execution of former president Saddam Hussein.
"There was a wish expressed by the US ambassador (Zalmay Khalilzad) that the execution be postponed by 10 days or two weeks," Maliki said in an interview with Al-Arabiya news channel.
He told the Dubai-based station that the request was rejected to avoid provoking demonstrations by "those who were angry with Saddam".
"The request took place but in fact we rejected it for these security concerns," he added.
Saddam was executed for crimes against humanity on December 30, which coincided with the first day of the Eid al-Adha feast and drew widespread Muslim condemnation.
His co-defendants convicted of killing 148 Shiite villagers in the 1980s — Saddam's half-brother former secret police chief Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and revolutionary court judge Awad Ahmed al-Bandar — will be executed "in a few days", an Iraqi government spokesman said on Wednesday.