Iraq’s al-Sadr eyes government independent of US, Iran

Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Thursday that the Iraqi people would make decisions for themselves without interference from the U.S. or Iran.

"Our decisions will be made in Iraq, not outside," al-Sadr tweeted.

"No to occupation; no to domination," he added, referring to the U.S. and Iran respectively.

Al-Sadr's Sairoon coalition came in first in last Saturday's parliamentary election, followed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's Victory Coalition and the Al-Fatih bloc, which is associated with Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi.

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 the few Shia leaders that does not have close ties with Iran.

Iraqis voted on Saturday in the country's first parliamentary election since 2014.

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