Iran has always tried to secure religious legitimacy for its velayat-e faqih doctrine by supporting loyalists in the Qom and Najaf Shiite seminaries.
Iran condemned what it called a "massacre" in Egypt as police moved on Wednesday to clear protests in Cairo by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Iran has been dismayed by Najafi clerics's refusal to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.
While Shiite clergy in Iran and Iraq mostly prefer to stay out of issuing fatwas, a minority is calling for jihad in Syria against salafist groups.
Shiite seminaries in Najaf and Qom are trying to keep their distance from the Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict and support Islamic unity.
Iran says overthrow of elected Prescient Morsi by Egypt's army is 'unacceptable and disturbing,' warns of 'deepening polarisation'.
While Iran continues to enforce Islamic punishment through its legal system, many Shiite clerics remain critical of such practices.
The long-standing competition for influence between Shiites' two holiest cities is growing.
What is the relationship between Iran and Yemen's Houthi community?
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s longtime aid and potential presidential candidate, has been criticized for controversial remarks.