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Iraq's Sadr Says Retiring From Politics

Muqtada al-Sadr
The influential Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has announced he is retiring from politics.

A statement from Sadr, posted on the Internet, said neither he nor his movement would hold government positions or seats in parliament.

The move comes with Iraq preparing for April elections in which Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has been a rival of Sadr, is seeking reelection.

Sadr and his militia group, the Imam al-Mahdi Army, gained prominence after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

Sadr demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces and his followers clashed repeatedly with U.S. troops.

Based on reporting by AFP, BBC, and Al-Jazeera