Firebrand Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Sunday called protests by his supporters a “major opportunity” to change Iraq’s political regime.
Tension escalated in recent days in Iraq following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to form a new government by a coalition of groups close to Iran amid protests by al-Sadr’s supporters.
In his first comments on the protests, al-Sadr described the demonstrations as “peaceful” and “spontaneous.”
The protests represent a “major opportunity to radically change the political regime, constitution and elections,” he added on Twitter.
The influential cleric called on Iraqis “to rise up to demand reform and not to waste this opportunity.”
Iraq has been in a political deadlock for nine months following the country’s general elections last October, which failed since then to agree on a new government between the rival parties.