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UPDATE 2-Iraq parliament backs trade minister, ends grilling over graft

* Acting trade minister answered questions on 2016 deal

* Parliament votes in favor of ending grilling

* MP behind the questioning seeks another vote (Adds quotes from opposing lawmaker, minister statement)

BAGHDAD, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament on Thursday voted to end its grilling of acting Trade Minister Salman al-Jumali over corruption allegations that mostly stemmed from a ministry deal to import Indian rice in 2016.

Out of 202 members of parliament, 104 voted that they were convinced by Jumali's answers made in Tuesday's session to lawmakers' questions about the deal, Kawa Mohammed, a member of parliament who attended the session, told Reuters.

The minister, a Sunni Muslim in a government dominated by Shi'ites, was questioned by lawmaker Alia Nussayif on Tuesday.

Jumali had denied the allegations.

Nussayif said the vote, in which a slim majority backed ending the grilling, had been held while she was not in the chamber. She said she wanted another vote and had gathered 50 signatures, which she said was enough to secure one.

"I call on the speaker to be fair and not to waste a year's effort," she told reporters, requesting another vote.

It was unclear whether the speaker would back her request.

Another parliament source, who asked not to be named, said parliament's vote amounted to a show of confidence in the minister and said there would be no further grilling.

The minister had told parliament that of the 40,000-tonne Indian rice cargo in question, just 4,000 tonnes were infected with a bug, and that portion of the order was rejected and funds returned.

A statement by the ministry welcomed Thursday's vote.

Iraq, a major rice and wheat importer, has previously faced graft accusations linked to the Trade ministry, which purchases strategic commodities.

The Trade Ministry has been struggling to import grains for its food subsidy program this year after introducing new payment and quality terms that kept traders away from its international tenders.

In May, the cabinet authorized the ministry to make direct purchases of wheat and rice to guarantee food security, a reflection of its struggle to secure enough interest in its tender process.

Iraq is expected to produce around 250,000 tonnes of rice this year suggesting a shortfall of about 1 million tonnes that will need to be filled by imports.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has promised to tackle corruption in a political system that doles out positions along ethnic and sectarian lines, creating powerful patronage networks. (Writing By Maha El Dahan; Editing by Edmund Blair)