Founded in response to repression of Shi’ite religious academies under Saddam Hussein, Dawa is considered to be the founder of the Islamic Shi’ite movement in Iraq. The party’s operatives fled Iraq to neighboring Iran following the latter’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, which it supported and sought to emulate on Iraqi soil. Like other parties that returned from Iranian exile after the toppling of the Saddam-regime, Dawa has long-standing ties with Iran and continues to receive financial support from it. Despite these ties, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who heads the party, has also been viewed by some as being overly accommodating to the US, a fact that lost him the support of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in 2008 (though Iranian prodding resulted in his nominating Maliki for a second term in office in 2010). The party boasts a religious nationalist platform based on political rule in Iraq in accordance with Islamic Sharia law.