In his interview, Mr Maliki said: "A decision was taken... that they no longer have a right to participate in the political process or take part in the upcoming elections unless they end the Mehdi Army. "Solving the problem comes in no other way than dissolving the Mehdi Army."
We have opened the door for confrontation, a real confrontation with these gangs Nouri Maliki, Iraqi prime minister The provincial elections are scheduled for later this year.
The BBC's Adam Brookes in Baghdad says the confrontation between the two men is growing.
Two weeks ago the prime minister sent thousands of troops into the city of Basra to try to force the Mehdi Army into submission.
The militia withdrew from the streets, but the operation was inconclusive. Mr. Maliki said the government would continue the crackdown. "We have opened the door for confrontation, a real confrontation with these gangs, and we will not stop until we are in full control of these areas," he said.
Mr Maliki's comments came after heavy fighting between US and Iraqi forces and the Mehdi Army at the weekend.
At least 22 people were killed and more than 50 others injured in clashes in the capital's eastern district of Sadr City, a stronghold of the militia. Five US soldiers were killed, including three who died during rocket and mortar attacks in Baghdad. Two of those died in attacks on the heavily-fortified Green Zone. Moqtada Sadr [LEFT at podium...the poster above shows his martyred uncle, Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, and father, Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr] has called for a mass demonstration on Wednesday against the US military presence.