Iran’s Hardline Choice

Iran’s choice for its next president, the hardline Mayor of Teheran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is likely to worsen relations with the West and the country’s international isolation. Yet in domestic terms the Islamist regime is likely to be better off than it would have been with a more moderate result.

Clearly, Ahmadinejad has a real base of support. But the fact that he ran as a populist, talked about helping the poor, condemned the government’s performance, and acted almost like an opposition candidate are all irrelevant: he was the regime’s choice, and, in the end, he received official help even against rival hardline candidates.