Tensions escalated in the country following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al Sudani as a new prime minister by a coalition of groups close to Iran.

Iraqi demonstrators have been protesting the recent nomination of Mohammed al Sudani as the official nominee of a coalition led by Iran-backed Shia parties and their allies.
Iraqi demonstrators have been protesting the recent nomination of Mohammed al Sudani as the official nominee of a coalition led by Iran-backed Shia parties and their allies. (Anmar Khalil / AP)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Iraqi parties to de-escalate the situation and avoid violence amid tension over the nomination of a new prime minister.

In a statement on Saturday, his spokesperson Farhan Haq said the UN chief is "following with concern" the ongoing protests in Iraq that left many people injured.

"Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights that must be respected at all times," he said.

The spokesperson urged Iraqi parties and actors "to rise above their differences and form, through peaceful and inclusive dialogue, an effective national government."

READ MORE: Iraqi parliament sessions suspended due to storming by Sadr supporters

Political tensions on rise

Earlier today, hundreds of followers of Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr began a second day camped at the country's parliament. 

A day earlier, they stormed the complex despite tear gas, water cannon and baking temperatures that touched 47 degrees Celsius.

They pulled down heavy concrete barricades on roads leading to Baghdad's fortified Green Zone of diplomatic and government buildings to break in.

Tension escalated in Iraq in recent days following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al Sudani as a new prime minister by a coalition of groups close to Iran amid protests by supporters of Sadr.

Iraq has been in a political deadlock for nine months following the country’s general elections in October 2021, which has failed since then to agree on a new government between rival parties.

READ MORE: Hundreds of Sadr supporters continue to camp at Iraqi parliament

Source: TRTWorld and agencies