News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIran denies Sadr is in country

Iran denies Sadr is in country

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AFP: Iran on Sunday for the first time formally denied claims by Iraqi and US officials that radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is in the Islamic republic, the ISNA news agency reported.
TEHRAN, Feb 18, 2007 (AFP) – Iran on Sunday for the first time formally denied claims by Iraqi and US officials that radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is in the Islamic republic, the ISNA news agency reported.

“Moqtada al-Sadr is not in Iran,” said foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini.

“This is part of the propaganda and psychological warfare led by the United States in Iraq to impose pressure on Iran and it has no basis,” he added.

Iraqi government and US officials have said that the firebrand cleric, leader of the Mahdi Army Shiite militia and a powerful political movement, left for Tehran last month ahead of a renewed security operation.

Sami al-Askari, an aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, on Thursday said that Sadr was “on a short visit” to Iran on an “official invitation”.

Some Sadr aides promised on Friday that Sadr would disprove the claims by publicly leading weekly prayers at his regular mosque in the Shiite town of Kufa, south of Baghdad. However he failed to appear.

The Iranian government has up until now condemned the US claims as a provocation, but not explicitly confirmed or denied whether Sadr was on its territory.

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