As Iraqi Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki meets President Obama in Washington, Tehran is trying to broaden its influence in Iraq by installing a heavy-hitting cleric there.
Office of the Supreme Leader/AP/File
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.
Iran has enjoyed sway in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion through large investments and charity work to help the country's majority Shiites, as well as by supporting Shiite militias to take on US forces on Iraqi soil.
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