July 18, 2005


Moqtada Sadr speaks to newsnight:

"Resistance is legitimate at all levels be it religious, intellectual and so on," Mr Sadr said.

"The first person who would acknowledge this is the so-called American President Bush who said 'if my country is occupied, I will fight'." (Texas National Guard mutter mutter mutter)

However, speaking in the interview to be broadcast on Monday night, Mr Sadr said he believed "America does not want confrontation".

"So I call upon other parties like the Iraqi army and the Iraqi police to exercise self-restraint with Iraqi people and not be provoked into them or the occupying forces as this isn't in the interest of Iraq," he said.

"I also call on the Iraqi people to exercise restraint and not get enmeshed in the plans of the West or plans of the occupation that wants to provoke them."

Mr Sadr argued that it is the presence of foreign troops which is the cause of Iraq's current problems.

"The occupation in itself is a problem. Iraq not being independent is the problem. And the other problems stem from that - from sectarianism to civil war," he said. "The entire American presence causes this."

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