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Iran on Quest to Legitimize Velayat-e Faqih in Iraqi Seminaries

Iran has always tried to secure religious legitimacy for its velayat-e faqih doctrine by supporting loyalists in the Qom and Najaf Shiite seminaries.
EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to film or take pictures in Tehran

Iranian clergymen debate at Talebiye seminary before noon prayer ceremony in Tabriz historic market, 633 km (393 miles) northwest of Tehran, early morning August 28, 2011. The Tabriz market was located along the Silk Road trade route and comprised of interlinked structures and spaces for various commercial, religious and educational uses. This market has been registered a
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Since its establishment, the religious regime in Iran has never been able to establish a stable and harmonious relationship between the Shiite seminaries of Qom and Najaf. There is an Iranian concern which surfaces from time to time about the Najaf seminary maintaining its traditional position on velayat-e faqih, which is considered a new opinion in Shiite doctrine. That doctrine was set by the founder of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, to give his absolute rule a religious basis.

Most of the spiritual references in Qom also do not believe in velayat-e faqih, which makes the Iranian regime apprehensive about the Qom seminary. The two sides also disagree about the methods of governance. The regime's response was to place a number of Qom spiritual references under house arrest and bar them from expressing their views and ideas or continuing their teaching and religious duties.

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