Firebrand Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday rejected Iranian and U.S. interference in the formation of the new Iraqi government.
“Iran is a neighboring country that fears for its interest and we hope it will not interfere in Iraqi affairs,” al-Sadr said 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.
Reporting by Ibrahim Saleh:Writing by Mahmoud BarakatAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.