Remember the Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring? There’s a part in the film where Saruman breeds an Uruk-hai warrior named Lurtz — and intrigued by his ferocity, anoints him Lord of the Uruk-hai and commander in battle. Here’s the scene, to jot your memory:
Now take another look at the graphic at the beginning of this post. You’ll notice that while there are a lot of arrows pointing to a lot of things, power is totally, unalterably located within the purview of the Supreme Leader. In our Lord of the Rings analogy, that’s Sauron. He controls it all. He gets to decide who leads, who dies, who rules — the whole shebang. Saruman on the other hand, is the Guardian Council. He basically carries out the will of Sauron, has a bit of self autonomy and is expected to handle the day-to-day that Sauron cannot, but he is effectively Sauron’s bitch.
Now that brings us to Lurtz — the Uruk-hai lord, bred by Saruman. Lurtz is the president of Iran. The one tasked with physically carrying out the commands dictated to him by the Guardian Council, whom likewise have their commands vetted and approved by the Supreme Leader. Lurtz, like the president of Iran, is the one we see. He fights in the battles, voices his superior’s mind, and does the grunt work.
Does Lurtz demand respect? Sure. After all, he’s powerful enough to lead a band of warrior Orcs, meaning he has some measure of pull within the ranks. But does Lurtz demand the fear of Saruman? Of course not. Nor does Saruman demand the fear that we afford Sauron.
The Supreme Leader of Iran is the top of the food chain. He decides. He’s big daddy from Django Unchained. The rest of them do his bidding, to varying degrees of success and authority.
The internet is a buzz today with news that “reformist” candidate Hassan Rouhani looks like the next president of Iran. He is a cleric — a member of the religious order — and was a long time advisor to the Supreme Leader Khameini. Many are hopeful that he’ll bring moderate rhetoric to his office, thus improving relations with the West.
Keep dreaming. Rouhani will speak and act as moderately as he is allowed, no more and no less. That’s not me being a cynic, that’s me knowing the way Iran operates.
The good news is that eventually, Lurtz, Saruman, and Sauron were defeated, and evil eradicated.
Iran needs Gandalf and some Hobbits.