Few foreign leaders are as provocative as Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Known for railing against the West in U.N. speeches, Ahmadinejad is an internationally recognizable mainstay of Iranian politics. Now his term is coming to a close, and on Friday Iran will choose a new president to lead a country in the throes of nuclear negotiations and hard-hit by sanctions.
The field of candidates has been stripped of any serious reformists who would pose a threat to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who claims his power directly from divine authority. In May, Iran’s conservative Guardian Council vetted a pool of over 600 applicants to produce eight candidates, all of whom are basically acceptable to the supreme leader.