In 2011, Shahroudi considered moving to the holy city of Najaf to establish a Shiite authority there. For the Iranian regime, he is a leading candidate to succeed Sistani, who currently holds the greatest influence among the Shiites but is known for being independent from Iran and opposing Iran’s political interference in Iraqi politics. Shahroudi is also a candidate to replace Khamenei as Iran’s supreme leader, which sheds light on how important he is in the eyes of the Iranian regime.
Najaf is willing for Iraq to have independent and balanced relations with all regional parties, including Iran and Iran’s enemy Saudi Arabia, and to have the PMU as part of Iraq’s official security institution — not to be used outside Iraqi territory to serve foreign agendas.
Najaf also wants a national unity government to be formed away from any sectarian party membership quotas in Iraq, and for Iran to assume responsibility for the political and security failures that occurred during Maliki’s second term in power. Maliki, who was the Iraqi prime minister from 2006 to 2014, still has unlimited support from Iran.
Shahroudi’s visit did not seem to achieve the goal of unifying the Shiite ranks. On the contrary, it delivered to the Iranian regime the message that the Iraqi challenge cannot be easily overcome.
(Picture credit: Shana)