Iran Played Key Role in al-Sadr Ceasefire

Iraqi lawmakers met cleric in Iran before deal was struck
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2008 6:58 PM CDT
Iraqis hold poster of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr during a massive protest in Sadr City, Iraq. An Iraqi official has said that Iran played a major role in convincing al-Sadr to order a ceasefire.   (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
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(Newser) – Iran played a key role in convincing Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to call a ceasefire in Basra yesterday, CNN reports. Iraqi lawmakers from five Shiite parties traveled to Iran on Friday to meet with al-Sadr, and returned yesterday, right before al-Sadr's injunction to halt violence in Basra, an Iraqi official said.

Iraqi lawmakers reportedly pressed Iran to stop aiding Shiite militias and convince al-Sadr to quit fighting. Iraqi sources kept mum on Iran's role, but said its involvement is proof of the Shiite nation's sway over Iraq. The city of Basra, rocked by fighting last week, is now controlled by soldiers and police; shops quietly opened today and people walked the streets again.