Poll workers in Tehran, Iran, February 2020
Nazanin Tabatabaee / WANA / Reuters

Since the Iranian presidential election of 1997, when the reformist candidate Mohammad Khatami won a surprise victory, elections in the Islamic Republic have remained relatively competitive. That seems set to change, however. In the upcoming presidential election, slated for June 18, Iran’s current chief justice, Ebrahim Raisi, is all but certain to cruise to victory and become Iran’s eighth president. His win will largely result from preelection engineering on the part of the Guardian Council, a 12-member body of jurists and clerics that is closely aligned with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and that vets candidates for office. Of the 592 candidates

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