Iran is involved in a search for an adequate substitute for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maleki. A senior Iranian official has reportedly told Reuters, on condition of anonymity, that there are very few choices to replace Al-Maleki, but Iran has concluded that the current Prime Minister is not capable of keeping the country together.

The report adds that Ayatollah Sistani, the Iraqi Shia leader, has also come round to the belief that Al-Maleki needs to be replaced.

Since the United States exited Iraq, Iran has become one of the major influences in leadership negotiations in Iraq. The current Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maleki, is Shia and a key ally of Tehran.

His critics maintain, however, that his “discriminatory policies against Sunnis” have been at the root of the emergence of the extremist group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. Iraq’s Kurdish people have also been critical of Maleki’s “discriminatory policies.”

The report from Reuters states that the Iranian ambassador is meeting with various political groups in Iraq but so far there are no strong candidates for a leader who could maintain the country’s integrity.

The report adds that the U.S. and other Western powers hope that Iran can use its influence on the current Iraqi government to help extinguish the armed insurgency by jihadist groups.