Iraq’s Sadr Blames Iran’s Proxies for Withdrawal From Parliament

Says Iran didn't directly pressure him

The details of Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s decision to withdraw his party from the parliament after months of failed coalition building are becoming increasingly clear. What happened was never exactly a secret, but Sadr is confirming what most suspected.

Sadr’s plurality was unable to form a government without the rival Shi’ite bloc, the Iran-linked State of Law faction. Sadr didn’t want to work with them and had his entire bloc resign.

Sadr denied rumors that Iran had directly pressured him, saying they never did, but that his decision came from pressure from Iran’s proxies, the other Shi’ite bloc.

Sadr was trying to form a government with an alliance with the KDP and the Sunni Arab Sovereignty Alliance. State of Law blocked those moves, and Sadr says the loss of his partnership with the KDP is what convinced him to pull out of parliament.

The process of parliament after the resignations is uncertain, with a majority needed to accept the resignations and to try to replace them. Their former allies are still trying to convince Sadr to return to the process.

Sadr has for years advocated that Iraq seek an independent political process, instead of being dominated by political powers beholden to Iran and the US.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.