By Ali Mamouri and Suzanne Maloney, Washington Institute–

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, and Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the Iraq-based religious authority for many Shiites, have an unparalleled role in shaping politics inside their countries and throughout the wider Middle East. Given their advanced age and known health problems, however, they may be leaving the political scene in the near future. If so, their absence could create a vacuum in Shiite religious and political leadership, and their succession may not follow historical precedent.

To discuss clerical succession in Iran and Iraq and its implications for U.S. interests in the region, The Washington Institute is pleased to host a Policy Forum with Ali Mamouri and Suzanne Maloney. The panel will be moderated by Institute fellow Mehdi Khalaji, author of the upcoming study The Future of Leadership in the Shiite Community.

Watch a live webcast of this conversation starting at 12:30 p.m. EST on Monday, February 6, 2017.

Check it out.

Ali Mamouri is a scholar and journalist who teaches political science at the University of Sydney. Editor of Al-Monitor’s “Iraq Pulse” desk, he has worked as a lecturer at the University of Tehran and trained at seminaries in Iraq and Iraq, among other posts.

Suzanne Maloney is deputy director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and a senior fellow in its Center for Middle East Policy, where her research focuses on Iran and Gulf energy issues. Previously, she served as a member of the secretary of state’s Policy Planning Staff, a Middle East advisor for ExxonMobil, and director of the 2004 Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on U.S. policy toward Iran.