This brief excerpt is from Hooman Majd’s very interesting book The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran, when he looks back at what he felt was the mood in the country in the days immediately after the election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had defeated the reform ticket candidates favored by the outgoing president, Mohammad Khatami (emphasis is mine).

Khatami was the first true liberal (by the standards of Iran, or indeed the Middle East) to become president, and under his leadership noticable changes occurred in Iranian society. …

The kinds of changes to Iranian society that were made under Khatami have proven very difficult to undo, even when conservatives have tried their utmost. … It is probably safe to say that a majority of Iranians, perhaps commensurate with the percentages that voted for him, share a political philosophy with Khatami—that is to say, a philosophy of moderation and real political change that doesn’t subvert the Islamic underpinning of the state. (It should be noted that the Revolutionary Guards, thought of in the West as monolithically and ideologically hard-line, also voted for Khatami with about the same percentages, over 70 percent, as the general population.) Naturally, the more left-leaning and liberal Iranians were greatly disappointed by the pace of change and by Khatami’s unwillingness to take on the real hardliners when it most counted, and there are those in the diaspora who are reluctant to countenance anyone who works within the Islamic system, but leaving aside economic factors (which Ahmadinejad played to his advantage), few Iranians, including members of the Guards, would describe themselves as being pholosophically much to the left or the right of Khatami.