[QODLink]
Middle East
Moqtada al-Sadr returns to Iran
It is not immediately clear why the Shia leader left Iraq and how long he will stay in Iran.
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2011 23:32 GMT
Moqtada al-Sadr demands the government to honour a promise not to allow US troops to stay in Iraq [EPA]

Moqtada al-Sadr, an Iraqi Shia leader, has returned to Iran after spending a couple of weeks testing the political waters back home in Iraq after a long, self-imposed exile, aides have said.

"Yes, definitely Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr went back to Iran," a source inside his office said, on condition of anonymity.

It was not immediately clear if he had returned to Iran for a short stay or if he intended to stay there for a long time.

One former member of Sadr's Mehdi Army group said his return to Iran was a "surprise" while a member of his political bloc said he was expected to come back soon.

Sadr's return to Iraq on January 5 rattled the political establishment, more than three years after he fled the country facing an old arrest warrant brought against him by US administrators.

Sadr's movement has become a powerful political force in Iraq after winning 39 parliamentary seats in last year's election and playing a pivotal role in securing prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's reappointment last month.

Sadr, demanded in his first public speech after his return that the government honour a promise not to allow US troops to stay.

The number of US troops in Iraq fell below 50,000 last August when the US military switched its role to advising and assisting its Iraqi counterparts, rather than leading the fight against a weakened but still lethal insurgency.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.