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Iraq: Al-Sadr rejects mediation for consensus government

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr holds a press conference in Najaf, Iraq on November 18, 2021. [Karar Essa - Anadolu Agency]
Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr holds a press conference in Najaf, Iraq on November 18, 2021. [Karar Essa - Anadolu Agency]

The eponymous leader of Iraq's Sadrist movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr, has rejected a mediation offer by the Commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Esmail Qaani, and Mohammad Hussein Kawtharani, the representative of Hezbollah in Baghdad, in the efforts to form a consensus government.

"Kawtharani has left Najaf without meeting Al-Sadr," said an official in the Sadrist movement who asked not to be named. "However, there were meetings with representatives of the movement."

Efforts made by some "friends" to bring views closer are commendable, the official added. "They should not be at the expense of the national project, though, which is a national majority government."

The official said that it is "unreasonable to repeat the same mistake for the fifth time in a row," a reference to Al-Sadr's refusal to form a consensus government that brings together all the winning political groups in parliament.

Qaani's mediation "did not solve the most prominent knot in the dispute, which is the Sadrist movement's right to form the government in the way it sees, as the first winner in the election and the holder of the largest number of seats among the Shia political forces."

Muqtada Al-Sadr insists on forming a national majority government. He has stressed that pressure will not deter him from this.

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