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Iran was declared an Islamic Republic in 1979, following the overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Supreme Leader (Rahbar) Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sits at the top of the political system, his power (in theory) checked by an elected president and parliament; the conflict between theocracy and democracy dictates much of the internal dynamic. The election of President Hassan Rouhani in June 2013, following the firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, proved a transitional moment in the Islamic Republic’s external relations.
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