Baghdad: Iraq’s embattled prime minister has fought off an attempt to push him out of office, aided by divisions among his opponents and Iranian intervention on his behalf.

Nouri Al Maliki’s tactical victory averts a potentially destabilising contest to replace him, at least for the time being, but perpetuates the sectarian-based deadlock that has paralysed the country for years.

In the latest setback for those trying to unseat Al Maliki, the country’s president Jalal Talabani said Sunday he would not ratify a petition for a no-confidence vote because it lacked the needed number of signatures.

An Iraqi lawmaker who supports the prime minister says Iran is helping him by trying to buy time.