Voting in Iran is a contrivance for settling certain policy disputes and personal rivalries within the ruling elite. Elections are not without meaning; if Mr. Ahmadinejad loses, it may result in more sensible economic policies and fewer loud calls for the destruction of Israel. But Iran doesn’t hold elections for supreme leader — Ayatollah Ali Khameini will hold that post for the indefinite future — and the failed presidency of Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2005 reminds us that the power of a putative reformist is illusory.
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