Iraqi top Shiite clerics are silent on Iran

“Simply put, the whole affair does not concern Najaf,” said Sheik Ali al-Najafi, son of and spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Bashir al-Najafi, one of the city’s four top Shiite clerics. “We will not interfere in the internal affairs of a dear, next door neighbor.” The four – who include Iranian-born Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani – have remained quiet on the upheavals in Iran since the disputed presidential election June 12. The reasons have to do with both religion and politics. But any sign of interference in Iran’s affairs by the Najaf clerics, particularly al-Sistani, could prove costly at a time when many Iraqis fear that Iran will try to broaden its influence in their country as the Americans reduce their military presence.

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