-- A look at the political power structure in Iran.

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  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

    Wields control over every major decision either directly or through a network of hand-picked loyalists and institutions, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard, the judiciary and intelligence services. <em>In this file photo released by the official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office on Monday, May 27, 2013, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, foreground right, attends a graduation ceremony of a group of Revolutionary Guard members, in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader, File)</em>

  • Guardian Council

    Group of 12 experts in Islamic law who approve all candidates for high elected office and can veto parliamentary bills considered to be in violation of Iran's Islamic constitution. <em>Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council, Iran's constitutional watchdog, delivers a sermon at Friday prayers, at Tehran University, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, May 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)</em>

  • President

    The president's powers are limited by the ruling clerics. The president helps direct economic policies, domestic social programs, education plans and some public works. The president also has some voice in the level of freedoms such as media and political openness but can be overruled by the clerics using the judiciary or Revolutionary Guard. The president represents Iran in many high-profile international forums and talks, but the clerics set all important foreign and defense policies. <em>In this Apil 19, 2013, file photo, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad greets Venezuelans upon his arrival to the National Assembly for President-elect Nicolas Maduro's inaugural ceremony in Caracas, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)</em>

  • Parliament

    Its 290 members are elected every four years and have wide powers to set economic and social policies, but officials loyal to the supreme leader can block legislation. The next election for parliament is in 2016. <em>An open session of the Iranian Parliament is seen during a debate on the proposed Labor Minister in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, May 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)</em>

  • Expediency Council

    Mediates between the parliament and Guardian Council, but often favors the supreme leader's views. All members are hand-picked by Khamenei and serves in effect as an advisory body to the supreme leader. <em>Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (centre) with Minister Of Defence Akbar Torkan (left) and Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaee during an army day ceremony in Azadi Square, Tehran, Iran, April 1992. (Photo by Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)</em>

  • Assembly of Experts

    An elected body of 86 clerics that has the official role of overseeing the supreme leader's performance, but main job is to select a successor after his death. <em>Former influential President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, second left, a member of Iran's Experts Assembly, attends a seasonal meeting of the assembly, while other members, Ayatollah Morteza Moqtadaei, right, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Jazayeri, second right, and Ayatollah Abbas Kabi, sit, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)</em>