Amid protests against the nomination of a new prime minister by groups close to Iran, Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday called on his supporters to leave the parliament building.
In a statement, the building in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone was urged to be evacuated by al-Sadr within 72 hours. However, supporters were called on to maintain their sit-in around the parliament HQ by the influential leader.
In order to perform the weekly Friday prayers on August 5, Al-Sadr also called on his supporters to gather in the Green Zone. The area houses Iraqi government offices and several foreign embassies.
Meanwhile, pro-Sadr protesters were called on to end their demonstrations and hold dialogue among the country’s political groups by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Since last week, following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as a new prime minister by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of groups close to Iran, tension escalated across Iraq.
Following the country’s general elections last October, which failed since then to agree on a new government between the rival parties, Iraq has been in a political deadlock for nine months.