By Haydar Karaalp
BAGHDAD (AA) - Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr closed his Facebook account Friday, writing "goodbye" on a black background on the social media site.
The move led to speculations that al-Sadr "withdrew from politics" in response to an agreement between political parties regarding the prime minister candidacy of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, supported by groups close to Iran.
Al-Sadr also replaced his profile picture, an image of his father Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, also known as a Shia religious authority, with a picture of a black background with the world "closed" written on it.
Earlier, al-Sadr said in two statements on Facebook that he is against the candidacy of al-Sudani, who is a former Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
Al-Sadr’s Twitter account remains open.
Iraq has been rocked by mass protests since early October over poor living conditions and corruption, forcing Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to resign.
According to Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights, at least 460 Iraqis have been killed and 17,000 have been injured since the protests began Oct. 1.
* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara