0545 GMT: This will be a long, complex election process up to March's formal ballot for Parliamentary seats, but it looks like Ahmadinejad supporters can claim a victory in the first skirmish.
On Tuesday, news emerged of the first decisions on who would and would not be allowed to stand among the almost 5400 applicants. The regime spin is that more than 80% made it past the scrutiny of officials of the Ministry of Interior, but the significant story lay in the banning of at least 32 of Iran's 290 MPs.
The banned legislators are from across the political spectrum, but at least nine of them are united in their high-profile criticism of the Ahmadinejad Government. Examples include Ali Motahari, who has led the drive to question and possibly impeach the President; Hamidreza Katouzian, the head of the Energy Committee who has challenged the Government over the economy as well as the energy sector; and Dariush Ghanbari, a leading reformist voice.
Ghanbari's exclusion also raises an interesting dimension in the battle. The blocking of other reformists occurred even though the Supreme Leader's offices, as well as other factions within the establishment, have pressed hard for their participation, both through running for election and through voting on 2 March.
That can lead, I think, to only one conclusion. Those who put the black mark on the high-profile candidates were doing so in support of the President and, to some extent, in defiance of the wishes of the Supreme Leader's advisors.
The decision is far from final. The Guardian Council, the highest-level supervisor of the electoral process, will review all the applicants --- it can re-instate those who have been blocked, and it can ban others. Presuming that the Council is more in line with the wishes of Ayatollah Khamenei, and is not so amenable to Ahmadinejad's inner circle, MPs like Motahari and Ghanbari are likely to be approved.
But that is for later. For now, some people within the Iranian system have tried to make clear that the President is no lame duck and the Supreme Leader does not always get his way.