Al-Sadr says ready to mediate for better Saudi-Iran relations

The Iraqi Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. File photo.

Baghdad ( Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has expressed readiness to resolve some disputes between Saudi Arabia and Iran as tensions exacerbate between the two regional foes.

“I am ready to intervene between the Islamic Republic (Iran) and Kingdom Saudi Arabia to resolve some issues, even gradually, and that is for nothing but the best of Iraq and the region,” Sadr wrote, replying to questions posted by his disciples on his online portal.

Shia Iran has always been widely viewed as the patron of Iraq’s Shia majority and the most vital playmaker in its politics. Sunni Saudi Arabia has always accused Iran of feeding regional tensions through military and financial support for Shia militias and political groups in the kingdom, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon, accusations that are denied by Iran.

Sadr visited Saudi Arabia for the first time in 11 years last July. He met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed regional issues of common interest.

While political commentators viewed the visit as a remarkable attempt to break away with the Iran-dominated Iraqi politics, others saw it as a balancing political act designed to get advantage from Sunni Saudi Arabia’s regional weight while staying on good terms with Shia Iran. Some also say it is an attempt by Sadr to embolden his image as a nationalist figure whose orientations can transcend sectarian calculations.

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