Moqtada al-Sadr, dominant Iraqi political leader, retires from politics

 Moqtada al-Sadr, dominant Iraqi political leader, retires from politics

One of Iraq’s most powerful figures, who has been at the centre of a long crisis over forming a government, says he is retiring from political life.

Moqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand Shia cleric with millions of followers, announced his decision on Twitter.

Hundreds of his supporters have been camped outside parliament for weeks after twice storming it in protest at the political deadlock.

His forces were prominent in fighting US troops after the 2003 invasion.

Mr Sadr’s announcement comes two days after he called for all parties and figures involved in political life following the US-led invasion of Iraq to quit.

His political alliance won the most seats in last October’s general election, but his MPs later resigned amid deadlock with a rival Shia bloc over the formation of the government.

Moqtada al-Sadr, dominant Iraqi political leader, retires from politics