Iranians have seen it before: A youngish presidential candidate firing up crowds with fist-waving rants against the West, then displaying his Islamist bona fides with courtesy calls to hard-line clerics.
Saeed Jalili, familiar to outsiders because of his prominence as a nuclear negotiator, has tried to distance himself from outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has fallen out with the clerical leadership that controls Iran. But he is employing the same strategy that worked for Ahmadinejad eight years ago – and in the murky world of Iranian politics, where there are no credible polls and elections are a highly controlled affair, it has made him, for many, the presumed front-runner.
“No compromise! No submission!” shouted supporters at rallies this week that had men in front and women segregated in the back.
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