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Already pressured by the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran faces a major test in managing Shiite religious scholar Moqtada al-Sadr, a formidable opponent who beat Tehran's longtime allies to achieve a shock victory in Iraq's parliamentary elections. But if Tehran overplays its hand by squeezing Sadr out of a coalition government dominated by its allies, it risks losing influence by provoking conflict between Iranian-backed Shiites and those loyal to Sadr.Before the elections, Iran publicly stated it would not allow Sadr's bloc – an unlikely alliance of Shiites, communists and other secular groups – to govern.For his part, Sadr has made clear he is unwilling to compromise with Iran by forming a coalition with its main allies, Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Badr paramilitary group and perhaps the most powerful man in Iraq, and former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.There is already bad blood between Sadr and Maliki, who as prime minister in 2008 cracked down on Sadr's Mehdi Army militia in the southern city of Basra in a violent Shiite feud.That seems unlikely and it is unclear how Sadr will use his election victory.
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