Oh Mahmoud, You So Crazy!
Over at Atlanta's Creative Loafing, Andisheh Nouraee has an essay on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that can be best summed up as: "Everybody, chill!" It's a nice antidote to the scaremongering profiles of the nutty-yet-not-really-powerful leader that have appeared in most opinion journals.
Ahmadinejad doesn't rule Iran, nor does he control its foreign or military policy. The man in charge of all that is Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran is a theocracy, and Khamenei is the theocrat-in-chief. To give you an idea of where Ahmadinejad lies in Iran's political hierarchy, note that no one can even run for the presidency in the first place without the approval of Khamenei and the Guardian Council, a group of six clerics and six conservative jurists that are selected by Khamenei.
Ahmadinejad does have some influence over foreign policy, but he doesn't steer it. None of his kooky pronouncements should be mistaken for policy statements.
You can tell that Nouraee spends less time biting her blanket and worrying about Ahmadinejad than, say, Charles Krauthammer. He posts his email address and suggests we all follow his lead and "sign [Mahmoud] up for gay-porn spam."