Iran pitches cleric as next Shia leader
The wax statues are detailed likenesses of the men's faces, hands and beards (AFP, Qassem Zein)
PTI | May 13, 2012, 04.24AM IST
NEW YORK: Iran, the world's largest Shia nation, is pushing a Tehran-based hard-line cleric Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi to become Iraq's next supreme spiritual leader, heightening fears in the Gulf.
Shahroudi, 63, is being positioned to succeed Iraq's top spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, triggering fears in an already shaky region that Iran's long-term goal is to transplant its Islamic Revolution to Iraq, New York Times reported.
Iraqi-born Shahroudi has spent most of career leading the Iranian judiciary and remains a top government official.
The Times said with Iranian financing, Shahroudi for has for months been building a patronage network across Iraq, underwriting scholarships for students and distributing information.