About two weeks after the mass resignation of the Sadrist bloc, Iraq's parliament swore in dozens of new lawmakers on Thursday, giving majority to Iran-backed politicians in the assembly.

A group of 73 parliamentarians loyal to the powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr resigned on June 12 upon his order after eight months of stalemate over forming a new government. Addition of the 64 new representatives means the influence of the parties supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Iraqi parliament increased and they once again became the main force in the 329-seat parliament. Nine newly elected representatives were absent for unknown reasons. 

"Following the Sadr lawmakers' resignation, we can confirm that we are the largest bloc in parliament with around 130 seats after the swearing in of the new lawmakers," Shiite lawmaker Ahmed Rubaie told reporters.

Sadr's party was the biggest winner in an October general election, and its success had raised the possibility that he could sideline his Iranian-backed rivals who had dominated politics in Iraq for years, but political disagreement among parties hindered parliament from electing a president and forming a government.

Sadr said on Wednesday that his decision to withdraw from Iraqi politics was prompted by pressure exerted by Iranian proxies on non-Shia members of his parliamentary coalition and on the Iraqi judiciary, but dismissed rumors that Iran itself had pressured him directly. “Iran this time did not exert any pressure on any Shiite party.”

Last week, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein criticized Iran's interference in Iraq's internal affairs.

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