New York Times:

QUM, Iran — Qum, home to some of Iran’s most influential clerics, is not just Iran’s holiest city, but one of its most powerful, a Shiite Vatican in the desert that can make or break any Iranian political career. So it is not surprising that it has become a destination recently for almost all of the candidates in next week’s presidential election, seeking to sip from the cocktail of money, politics and religion that the city represents.

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