Aide says Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is back in Iran

January 22, 2011 12:31

BAGHDAD  — An aide to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said he has gone back to Iran after only a short stay in Iraq after years abroad.

The senior Sadrist official said the populist firebrand cleric left Iraq early Saturday. It was not known when he would return.The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Al-Sadr's surprise return to Iraq this month was part of his campaign to gain boost his credibility in the nation's political and religious circles after nearly four years in voluntary exile in Iran.

He met with an array of leaders, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, during his two-week visit.

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