The movement of Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has rejected a call by the head of a rival group for dialogue amid rising tensions across the country.

Hadi al-Ameri, the head of the Shia Al-Fatah coalition, earlier called on al-Sadr to engage in dialogue amid protests by supporters against the nomination of a new prime minister.

But Ahmed al-Mutayri, the head of al-Sadr movement’s political bureau, rejected the call and urged al-Ameri to withdraw from the Coordination Framework, a coalition of groups close to Iran.

“Any dialogue is conditional on the withdrawal of al-Ameri and his group from the Coordination Framework,” he added.

Tension escalated across Iraq in recent days following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as a new prime minister by the Coordination Framework, a move that triggered protests by al-Sadr’s supporters.

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