TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari rejected reports about an official visit by senior Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr to Tehran in recent weeks.
“Moqtada Sadr has not had any official visit to Iran recently to consult with Iranian officials,” Jaberi Ansari told reporters on Monday.
The rejection by Jaberi Ansari came in reaction to a recent report by the Arabic-language Al-Sharq al-Awsat which claimed Sadr has paid a visit to Iran after a recent demonstration by his followers in Baghdad’s Green Zone or International Zone (IZ) turned violent and “the protesters chanted anti-Iran mottos”.
Jaberi Ansari, however, noted that some of Sadr’s relatives live in Iran and the senior Iraqi cleric visits Iran every now and then to meet them.
But Al-Sharq al-Awsat’s report claimed that Moqtada Sadr had been welcomed by Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani at Tehran’s international airport.
Baghdad’s Green Zone, or International Zone (IZ), is home to the Iraqi government building and several foreign embassies.
On April 30, Sadr’s followers crowded the streets in front of the country’s parliament and poured into the heavily secured Green Zone.
On May 1, protesters, who had done major damage inside the parliament building during the day-long standoff, packed up their bags and carried flags with them as they left peacefully.
Last Monday, informed sources in Iraq disclosed that they had identified a Ba’athist agent who provoked protesters during the Saturday unrest in Baghdad’s Green Zone.
“The agent who chanted mottos against the Iraqi resistance forces as the protesters were marching in the Green Zone has been identified,” an informed Iraqi official, who asked to remain unnamed due to the sensitivity of his information, told FNA.
The source noted that the instigator is on the Iraqi government’s list of wanted criminals and has just returned from Egypt.
“The identified person, who has been an active Ba’athist during the era of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, seized the opportunity and chanted slogans against the Iraqi resistance and Iran during the Saturday protests,” he added.
The informed official said that the man has a criminal record in Nasseriya region for committing crimes there.
By Fars News Agency