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Moqtada al-Sadr Calls on Iran to Abandon ‘Political, Confessional Polemics’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Head of Sadrist Movement Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during news conference in Najaf, south of Baghdad, April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Baghdad – Iraqi Sadrist Movement Leader Moqtada al-Sadr called on the Iranian government to stay away from “political and confessional polemics”, which have yielded negatively on the region.

Sadr’s statements came in a letter addressed to the Iranian leadership on the occasion of the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday.

Sadr congratulated Rouhani for his victory, but urged the Persian State to end regional policies of “negative” impacts.

“We congratulate the Iranian people for the victory of their reformist, moderate candidate despite the fervent political rivalry,” Sadr said in a statement.

The Iraqi cleric, on the other hand, urged the Iranian government to “steer away from all kinds of policy that negatively affect the region,” adding that “the situation can bear no more” escalation.

He also urged Tehran to adopt a policy of openness towards regional countries, which he did not name, and to “give up political and sectarian disputes”.

It was the first time since 2003 that an Iraqi politician and religious leader asks Iran to end its confessional policies.

Rouhani, who is in office since August 2013, was elected president for a second term, by gathering on Saturday more than 57% of Iranian votes.

He was competing against his conservative opponent, Ebrahim Raisi.

Sadr met on Saturday with anti-corruption activists in al-Najaf, who were recently released by an armed group, the Baghdad Post reported.

Unidentified gunmen in SUVs abducted the seven activists on May 9 in Baghdad, the interior ministry said.

In a press statement, Sadr said: “I declare my readiness to protect them (activists) in coordination with the government.”