It’s often noted that the most hawkish elements in squabbling countries unwittingly enable and support each other. The stand-off between the United States and Iran illustrates this perfectly. Tensions between the countries date back decades, of course, beginning with the U.S.-instigated overthrow of Mohammed Mosaddeq and his democratically elected government in 1953 and escalating with the Iranian siege of the American embassy in Tehran in 1979. But it is only in the last few years that a direct military confrontation has emerged as real, maybe even imminent, prospect. It’s against this backdrop that Iranians will head to the polls on Friday for the preliminary round of their quadrennial presidential election.