Iran’s Muddled Presidential Politics
WASHINGTON, DC – The decision of former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami not to seek the presidency again has revealed how muddled Iranian presidential politics now is. In trying to sort out this muddle, the most important thing to keep in mind is not so much who will be elected, but what that choice will reveal�about the intentions of the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Unfortunately, the most likely outcome will be continuing transformation of the Islamic Republic from a civil government into a garrison state in which the military plays a major role in determining political and economic matters.
Who will actually win the vote is unpredictable, but not because Iran is democratic. Ayatollah Khamenei, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, oversees the agencies that will run the election: the Guardian Council and the Ministry of Interior, which supervise the electoral process, and the Basij militia and Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), which unofficially control the ballot-boxes and the vote-counting process.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one? Log in