Iraqi Cleric Says Ready for Mediation in Worsening Saudi-Iran Ties

Iraqi Cleric Says Ready for Mediation in Worsening Saudi-Iran Ties

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has expressed readiness to help resolve the deepening problems between Saudi Arabia and Iran as tensions exacerbate between the two regional foes. “I am ready to intervene between the Islamic Republic and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to resolve some issues, even gradually, and that is for nothing but the best of Iraq and the region,” Sadr said, Iraqi News reported on Tuesday. Sadr, who enjoyed good relations with Iran, visited Saudi Arabia for the first time in 11 years last July. He met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, better known as MBS. While political commentators viewed the visit as an attempt by the cleric to break away with Iran, others billed it as a balancing political act designed to benefit  from Saudi Arabia’s regional clout while staying on good terms with Tehran. Some also said it was an attempt by Sadr to embolden his image as a nationalist figure. The feud between Iran and Saudi Arabia has dominated the political landscape of West Asia for the past couple of years. Ties have deteriorated further since the rise of rabidly anti-Iran MBS to power in June 2017.

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