The president's ties to military and security forces, as well as his hardline foreign policy, are among the factors cited for his support from the country's supreme leader.
The price has been high of massive and sometimes violent Iranian reaction to the official landslide reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But no one has paid more than the country's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, whose decision to bless the result as "divine" – and side openly with Mr. Ahmadinejad, despite charges of extensive fraud – has sparked the widest popular challenge to the Islamic Republic in 30 years.
So why is Ahmadinejad the chosen one?
Experts suggest a number of reasons, from his ties to the military and security forces, to populist domestic and hardline foreign policies, to sheer loyalty, that might have caused the leader to approve of – or even engineer – an Ahmadinejad win.
"[Ayatollah Khamenei] realizes that the armed forces of the establishment are more supportive of Ahmadinejad than they would be of anyone else," says Massoumeh Torfeh, an Iran specialist at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
On Monday, police and armed militants, operating from their makeshift base at the large Shirudi sports complex in downtown Tehran, forcefully prevented several hundred people from gathering at the nearby Haft-e Tir Square.
The Revolutionary Guard threatened a "revolutionary confrontation" to put down any further protests.
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