Iran: Ahmadinejad Squashed by Supreme Leader Khamenei
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers his speech in June 2011 in front of a huge portrait of his now-political rival Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)
May 10, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Iran’s recent parliamentary elections resulted in significant gains for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the expense of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reinforcing Khamenei’s strong political support among the ruling elite and the clerics. Regional concerns about Iran will continue after the election, but they could have a longer term effect on the Iranian opposition, the youth in particular.

Khamenei will have a large majority in Iran's parliament, reducing the already slim possibility of challenges to his authority. He also will continue to be the driving force behind Iran’s negotiating strategy concerning its nuclear program.  In contrast, Ahmadinejad appears to be saddled with the blame for Iran’s growing economic woes, a situation in part attributable to Ahmadinejad’s overly confrontational style, to international sanctions triggered by the nuclear controversy, and a sense among Iran’s large under-30 population that the nation is becoming increasingly isolated from the global community. 

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