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8 Jan, 2020 18:29

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr says crisis over, after Trump & Iran speak

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr says crisis over, after Trump & Iran speak

Influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has declared the “crisis” between the US and Iran over, following statements from the two countries’ leaders in the wake of Tuesday’s Iranian strikes on US bases in Iraq.

Al-Sadr made his pronouncement on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump gave a relatively subdued speech praising Iran’s restraint. Rather than call for retaliation against Iran over a strike that didn’t kill any Americans, Trump merely vowed to impose even more sanctions on the Islamic Republic “until Iran changes its behavior.” 

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in turn vowed to eventually kick all US troops “out of the region” as the “final answer” to the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, killed in a US airstrike last week.

Shia religious leader al-Sadr also called on Iraqi militias to be “patient” and not begin any military actions, claiming that a new “strong” government capable of protecting Iraq’s sovereignty would be formed in 15 days and hold early elections. However, Iraq should still evict the foreign troops inside its borders, he said.

The Iraqi foreign ministry condemned Iran’s missile attack on the coalition bases, declaring it a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty” in a statement on Wednesday and emphasizing Iraq was an “independent state.” 

We will not allow it to become a battlefield,” the ministry added.

Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi stepped down last month after months of massive protests calling for electoral reforms. He has remained in a “caretaker” role while Iraq’s political leaders attempt to move forward. Another prominent Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, warned last month that “foreign interference” in the process would not be tolerated.

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