An Iranian woman after voting in the 2009 presidential election (Courtesy Reuters)

The paradoxical nature of politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran has been on full display in this short campaign season for the presidency. As plenty of commentators -- both in the Iranian and Western media -- have pointed out, much of the action took place before the race was officially under way. This week, the Guardian Council approved only eight candidates out of close to 700 who had registered to compete in the election scheduled for June 14.

But another paradox of the coming Iranian election has managed to escape some observers, especially those in the West. Ever since two of the highest-profile candidates, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, were barred from competing, commentators have assumed that the Iranian public will approach the election with apathy, maybe even hostility. But just because the vote is not entirely

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