Baghdad (Iraqinews.com) – Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr reiterated on Tuesday his rejection of Iranian and U.S. interference in forming a new government in Iraq, the first ever since the defeat of Islamic State in the country last year.
“Iran is a neighboring country that fears for its interest and we hope it will not interfere in Iraqi affairs,” Anadolu Agency quoted al-Sadr as saying in a statement in response to a question by one of his supporters.
“The U.S. is an invader country; we do not allow it to interfere at all,” he added.
Al-Sadr’s Sairoon coalition won 54 parliamentary seats in the May 12 parliamentary polls, followed by a Hashd al-Shaabi-linked coalition (47 seats) and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s Victory bloc (42 seats), according to the election commission.
The vote results, however, were greeted with widespread fraud allegations during the polls.
Al-Sadr’s coalition did not win the majority needed to form a government alone but will play a primary role in selecting the next prime minister.
Al-Sadr said he hoped to establish a “technocrat” cabinet far removed from narrow sectarian biases.
Known for his hostile approach to the U.S., al-Sadr is one of few Shia leaders who don’t have close ties with Iran.