Cleric says militia would defend Iran if attacked

Radical Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Sunday that his Mahdi Army would help to defend Iran if it is attacked by a foreign nation, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Al-Sadr, speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, said his militia was formed to defend Islam. "The forces of Mahdi Army defend the interests of Iraq and Islamic countries. If neighboring Islamic countries, including Iran, become the target of attacks, we will support them," al-Sadr was quoted as saying. "The Mahdi Army is beyond the Iraqi army. It was established to defend Islam," he said.