Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, surname also written Ahmadinezhad, (محمود احمدینژاد) is the sixth President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He took office as President on August 3, 2005. Before that he had never been popularly elected to a government office. The conservative firebrand served as the appointed mayor of Teheran from May 3, 2003 to June 28, 2005 when he was elected president in the second round of voting. He is the first non-cleric to hold the office of President of Iran.
The open hostility of the second Bush administration toward Ahmadinejad and the administration's incompetent Middle East policies have made him and his government stronger rather than weaker. Iran appears likely to emerge as the dominant regional power in the Middle East because of its straightforward and successful defiance of second Bush administration and Israel. Iranian clients include the Iraqi Shi'a fundamentalist parties and militias (and eventually whatever government controls oil rich southern Iraq), Hezbollah in Lebanon, Azerbaijan, and the Shi'a minorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Lower Middle Class Anti-Liberal and Anti-CommunistEdit
Ahmadinejad is one of seven children born to a lower middle-class family in Garmsar, a neighbourhood in southeast Tehran. The original family surname was Saborjhian, a reference to an occupation involving carpet making. When the family moved from Semnan province to Tehran the surname was changed to Ahmadinejad which refers to both the prophet Muhammad and Persian ethnicity. The family's wrenchign experience of moving to Tehran was common to many iranian families in the 1950s and 1960s, one that helped spawn a generation of angry radicals. During the Iranian Revolution of 1979 he was a member of the extremist Shi'a Islamist faction of the Office for Strengthening Unity, the radical group that took hostages in the US Embassy and precipitated the electoral defeat of Jimmy Carter and the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. He is believed to have attended the planning meetings for the US Embassy takeover and at these meetings lobbied for a simultaneous takeover of the Soviet Embassy.
The Bomb, the Hidden Imam and the VetoEdit
Since becoming president Ahmadinejab has expressed strong support for nuclear development in Iran, extreme hostility to Israel and millennial belief in the imminent return of the Hidden Imam, the fundamentalist Shi'a counterpart to the funadamentalist Protestant Second Coming. He has also expressed the belief that the 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet deserve one of the permanent seats on the UN Security Council. (Although why they would need that if the world is coming to an end is unclear!)
Some of Ahmadinejab's rhetoric suggests he continues to struggle psychologically with a difficult passage to adult autonomy. For example on Wednesday, May 17, 2006, he dismissed the quid pro quo of halting uranium enrichment for economic incentives by the EU, saying, "Do you think you are dealing with a 4-year-old child to whom you can give some walnuts and chocolates and get gold in return?" Source: Karl Vick. "Iran Defies Offer From Europeans: Anti-Nuclear Incentives Called Laughable." San Jose Mercury News. May 18, 2006.
Another Fundamentalist Obsessed About IsraelEdit
More than once Ahmadinejad has expressed doubt that the Holocaust occurred, going so far refer to it as a "myth," and criticise laws in Europe against denying the historical reality of Holocaust.
No Veiled Criticism AllowedEdit
Ahmadinejab and his supporters are sensitive to even indirect mockery of the great man. His statement claiming to sense a "halo" after his apearance at the United Nations is viewed with contempt by the less credulous in Iran. See Jefferson Morley's Cartoon Brings Iran Media Crackdown.
- Robert Tait. "Humbling Beginning that Shaped Iran's New Hard Man: Ahmadinejad Has Tasted the Poverty He Wants To Eradicate." The Guardian. July 2, 2005, p. 15.