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Iranian cleric to challenge Sistani

Scott Peterson reports for The Christian Science Monitor:

As American forces complete their withdrawal from Iraq in coming days, concern has grown in Washington that neighboring Iran is determined to fill any "vacuum" with its own influence.

Iraqi officials have long dismissed that scenario as overblown. But an attempt by Tehran to install a top-ranking cleric in one of Iraq's holiest cities – thereby exercising far greater influence over Iraq's religious and political life – has prompted warnings of an "Iran project" to boldly increase leverage with its neighbor.

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