Source: The Washington Post
NAJAF, Iraq — Wedged in the corner of a squat brick building in this holy Muslim city, Sheikh Aladdin al-Jazari’s cramped office belies his ties to a powerful patron: the supreme leader of Iran.
The furniture is sparse, and the rooms dimly lit. But Jazari is a key liaison to the office of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian leader, whom Jazari says he has met multiple times.
As rumors swirl that Khamenei, 79, is laying the groundwork for his successor after three decades in power, clerics such as Jazari, from his perch next door in the spiritual heart of Shiite Islam, have rare visibility into a transition process known for its secrecy.
He says that Iran’s next supreme ruler may not come from a list of more obvious candidates now circulating among analysts and insiders. He bases his assessment both on experience and, given his proximity to Khamenei’s inner circle, a degree of insight into the future.