A spokesman of the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq's holy city of Najaf dismissed the US military claims on his presence in Iran. Col. John Castles, commander of the 82 Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, said on Friday that al-Sadr had returned to Iran, where he had spent several months earlier this year.
Al-Sadr's office said he was still in Iraq. The spokesman in al-Sadr's headquarters in Najaf, south of Baghdad, called the US assertion a "baseless rumor."
"The Americans are just trying to find out where al-Sadr is," he said, according to the AP.
Al-Sadr came under heavy pressure to order his fighters not to confront the Americans as increase in US troops started in February. Later, he left to Iran. He appeared again in public in Iraq on May 25, but was last heard from inside the country on June 28.