Sunday, June 26, 2022

Sadr: Iran never meddled in Iraqi politics or pressured Shia groups

Senior Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr roundly dismisses claims of Iranian “meddling” in the affairs of his country, saying the neighboring state never exerted any pressure on any Shia group in Iraq.

In a statement on Wednesday, the cleric, who heads Iraq’s Sadrist movement, rejected “false” rumors that Iranian “threats” had been behind his recent decision to order the withdrawal of lawmakers with his bloc from the Iraqi parliament.

“I’m saying this for the first time: The Islamic Republic of Iran never put any pressure on any Shia party,” Sadr said.

The cleric said he was himself “courageous enough” to make such a decision, which he said stemmed from his unwillingness to play a part in the “destruction of what has been left in Iraq.”

Sadr on June 11 called for the mass resignation of parliament members with his movement from the legislature in an effort to end a political stalemate that has blocked the formation of a government in the Arab country.

The Sadrist bloc has had the largest number of seats at the Iraqi legislature — 73 out of 329 — since an election in October 2021.

On Thursday, the Iraqi parliament will hold a voting session to decide the replacements of those who resigned.

The cleric urged all parliamentary blocks not to be intimidated d by “illegal” pressure and take a “brave stance for reformation and saving the homeland.”

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