If you read the news at all these days, chances are that you are hearing a lot about the firebrand President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is the guy that is calling for Isreal to be wiped off the map, he is the guy that is being blamed for Iranian nuclear ambitions, he is the guy that everyone is pointing their fingers at. However, he is not the top dog in the Iranian power structure. To understand that, you need to understand that Iran is not a democracy, it is an Islamic Republic. What that means in functional terms is that at the top of the pyramid you have Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei is the ultimate authority in all things that happen in Iran. He can approve or veto any decision made by anyone, including President Ahmadinejad. Under the supreme leader is a council of Islamic experts. These 12 guys can also approve or reject any decision that the President or anyone below him makes.
As if that isn’t enough, there is a panel of 86 experts that oversee all decisions, a congress that is more or less dependant on the Supreme Leader’s decisions, 200,000 elite soldiers that are loyal to the Supreme Commander, and an estimated 10 million ‘morality police’ who swear total loyalty to defending the decisions of the Supreme Leader.
So, the big question here folks is Why do we pay the least bit of attention to anything but the Supreme Leader? Does President Ahmadinejad represent anything but the wishes of Khamenei? Why is it that we rarely, if ever, hear what it is that the Supreme Leader of Iran has to say about Iraq, Afghanistan, the U.S., or anything else? I realize that I am not the most trusting digester of media, but this question really bothers me…why are we ignoring the guy that actually controls Iran?