Abbas Kadhim in the Associated Press

The Iranians “don’t want another al-Sistani … They don’t want somebody who is strong, who overshadows their own supreme leader,” said Abbas Kadhim, director of the Iraq Initiative at the Atlantic Council. While none of al-Sistani’s potential successors are “in Iran’s pockets,” Tehran can benefit from a weak figure. “If this person is silent and doesn’t intervene, people will look elsewhere for guidance,” Kadhim said.