How Ahmadinejad consolidated power in Iran

The elite Revolutionary Guards and a good part of the intelligence services “feel very much threatened by the reformist movement,” said a political analyst who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. “They feel that the reformists will open up to the West and be lenient on the nuclear issue,” he said. “It is a confrontation of two ways of thinking, the revolutionary and the internationalist. It is a question of power.”…

“The old generation of the Islamic Revolution was going to die off,” said one Iranian analyst. “We thought they would inevitably give way to the reformers. But they found Ahmadinejad, and he was a wise choice. He was a new breed of populist — a new breed of demagogue.”…

More important, he has consolidated the various arms of power that answer ultimately to the supreme leader. The Revolutionary Guards — the military elite — was given license to expand into new areas, including the oil industry and other businesses such as shipbuilding.

The Guardian Council, which oversees elections, had its budget increased 15-fold under Mr. Ahmadinejad. The council has presided over not only Friday’s outcome, but over parliamentary majorities loyal to Mr. Ahmadinejad.

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