With a complicated political system and numerous councils composed of religious and judicial scholars, some elected, some selected, it can be tough to sort out who the key decision makers are in Iran.
Iran's system of government combines three standard branches of government (judiciary, legislative and executive) with a collection of unique religious chambers that advise, augment and even absolve the Supreme Leader and his policies.
The intricate ties between these two divisions attempts to establish a checks and balances approach aimed at making sure no one segment has too much power in the political structure:
However, this system is undercut by some of the country's powerful individuals. Up-and-coming leaders are few and far between, and many of Iran’s political leaders have been in positions for long periods of time.
Moreover, many of these figures regularly transfer into different chambers, which limit new policy objectives and are generally unresponsive to the demands of the people.
Here are a few of the most influential on the eve of Iran's 2013 presidential election:
Source: Al Jazeera