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A Man of the System Could Affect It

Author: Ray Takeyh, Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies
June 17, 2013
New York Times


Iran's presidents matter; they always do. They control ministries, patronage networks and formulate national budgets. At times, they move beyond their administrative role and lead national campaigns of profound consequence.

Muhammad Khatami's call for democratic change continues to reverberate in Iran, having inspired a reform movement, a Green movement and most recently the purple wave. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is likely to have a more fleeting legacy as his populism and bombast were ultimately rejected by the Iranian public. His was a tumultuous tenure of wasted opportunities, needless provocation and much-deserved opprobrium.

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