The new video above from Vox gives a simple, but quick and easy, breakdown of Iran's government and upcoming parliamentary elections that will be held on 26 February. Often Western media portrays Iran as just another top-down dictatorship with 'no politics to speak of', but there is real ideological 'tussle' within the Islamic Republic and its complex institutions. Iran has also been the subject of that question in the West:  are Islam and democracy 'compatible'?

The accompanying Vox article by Johnny Harris and Max Fisher is very optimistic about the election and its chances to change the direction of politics in Iran. That may be so, but the moderate faction is fighting from a significant disadvantage. As Rodger Shanahan pointed to late last month, several important reformist candidates have been disqualified from running in both the parliamentary election and for the Assembly of Experts, the body that selects the Supreme Leader. This is because the Supreme Leader exerts a great amount of influence over the Council of Guardians, the group that approves electoral candidates.

Whatever the case, the election should be an interesting one.