Today, the Authoritarian Regime placed 139 in the 'World Democracy Rankings' showed why they've earned this hard won reputation. Over the months, the Ayatollah has seen fit to remove in excess of 1,700 so called reformists from being able to stand as candidates in the election. Sifting through the normal high/low turnout spin, it appears that a great many ordinary Iranians choose to stay away from the polls in silent protest at what is seen as a preordained outcome of a win-win for the hardliners. Previous turnouts that saw the reformists rise to power and a softening of Iran's stance to international relations were as high as 80%. Today's reality set against a climate of rising inflation, an ever widening class gap, ailing economy and disillusioned public see's a sharp turn away from this trend. Increasingly the Revolutionary Guardsmen and Basiji militants have been encouraged to fill the gaps left behind by the reformist ejection, leading to what some correspondents view as an entrenchment and even a growing coup d'etat of the paramilitary firmly into Iran's power base. Three days previously the commander of Centcom, Admiral William Fannon handed in his resignation bringing again to the table tensions in the capital over possible confrontations with Iran and the Bush Administration. A mere coincidence of timing? Or an ill wind blowing for things still left unaddressed? Discuss.