Baghdad
Baghdad iStock

Iraqi lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill criminalizing normalization of ties and any relations, including business ties, with Israel, The Associated Press reported.

The legislation says that violation of the law is punishable with the death sentence or life imprisonment.

The law was approved with 275 lawmakers voting in favor of it in the 329-seat assembly. A parliament statement said the legislation is “a true reflection of the will of the people”, according to the report.

Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose party won the largest number of seats in Iraq’s parliamentary elections last year, called for Iraqis to take to the streets to celebrate this “great achievement.” Hundreds later gathered in central Baghdad, chanting anti-Israel slogans.

Iraq has not recognized Israel since the country's formation in 1948. The two nations have no diplomatic relations.

Four Arab countries - the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Bahrain, and Morocco - established diplomatic relations with Israel as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020.

Iraqi lawmakers are adamant that Iraq will not join the Abraham Accords, despite calls on it to do so.

This past September, prominent Sunni and Shiite leaders held a conference in the city of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, in which they openly called for peace with Israel.

The Iraqi government condemned the conference, and a Baghdad court later issued an arrest warrant for two people who participated in it.