Iranian Elections: How They Really Work

Iran goes to the polls today, and people around the world are caring a little more than usual about an international election, because it would be simply excellent to not have Ahmadinejad around anymore spouting off about the Holocaust and making everyone feel nervous with his not-so-veiled nuclear threats. The election is shaping up to be a close one.But the chart above on how Iranian government functions and its accompanying explainer text makes it clear that the Iranian president may be more bark than bite. It's still the (unelected) Supreme Leader who is making the decisions about the armed forces, and appointing half of the Guardian Council, a body that can veto any law and ban any citizen from standing for an election.Pre-Ahmadinejad, the reformist president Khatami clashed with the religious half of the government, and should any of the non-Ahmadinejad candidates manage to pull off a win today or in a run-off, it's not like it will be easy sailing: Ahmadinejad wouldn't be who he was if the Supreme Leader didn't let him be, and the Supreme Leader will still be in charge.For updates on Iran's election check out this site from the BBC and this one from The New York Times.