The Supreme Leader of Iran is the 87 year old Ali Khameini, who has been head of state since 1989 (following the more well-known Ayatollah Khomeini). He also served as President from 1981-89.
The Supreme Leader is appointed by 88 members of the Assembly of Experts.
The Assembly of Experts is appointed by the Guardian Council.
The Guardian Council consists of 12 members - six Islamic experts appointed by the Supreme Leader, and six jurists elected by Parliament.
The Parliament is known as the Consultative Assembly, which is elected by the general population every four years.
Candidates for President must be approved by the Guardian Council. For the 2017 election, 1,636 people applied to be candidate, including 137 women. The Guardian Council rejected all but six, and one of the approved candidates later stood down to support another candidate. The five candidates are:
- Mostafa Hashemitaba for the right wing Executives of Construction
- Eshaq Jahangri, also for the Executives of Construction
- Mostafa Mir-Salim for the right wing Islamic Coalition Party
- Ebrahim Raisi for the right wing Combatant Clergy Party (can you imagine such a party anywhere else?) and
- Hassan Rouhani, President since 2013, for the Moderation and Development Party
Polls currently show President Rouhani on 55% with the others trailing a long way behind. He is considered a moderate, and has even made some moves towards increased rights for women. Four former Presidents of Iran are alive, including the first President, Abolhassan Banisadr who was in office from 1980 until his impeachment in 1981. He is 84 years old.