As Iranian voters prepare to head to the polls Friday, there’s one thing the high-stakes presidential election certainly will not decide: the country’s commander in chief.
That post, at least, is already filled by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader for nearly three decades. As long as he maintains control over the highest seat in the land, Khamenei enjoys wide-ranging authority over the security forces and effective veto power over matters both diplomatic and domestic — including the council that vets and approves presidential candidates.
Still, the presidency offers significant power of its own. Whichever candidate emerges with the electoral victory will be handed a four-year term and the helm of an economy at a crossroads.