Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
محمود احمدی‌نژاد‎ ​
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Incumbent
Assumed office 
August 3, 2005
Vice President(s)   Parviz Davoodi
Preceded by Mohammad Khatami
Succeeded by Incumbent

Born October 28, 1956
Aradan, Iran Flag of Iran
Political party Islamic Society of Engineers

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ,[1] (born October 28, 1956) is the 6th and current president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He became president on 6 August 2005 after winning the 2005 presidential election. Ahmadinejad's current term will end in August, 2009. But he will also be eligible to run for one more term in office in 2009 Presidential elections. Before becoming president, he was the Mayor of Tehran. He is the highest directly elected official in the country but according to article 113 of Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran he has less total power than the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei; who is the commander in chief of Military sections of Iran and has the final word in all aspects of Foreign and domestic policies[2] [3]

Ahmadinejad is an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and supports strengthened relations between Iran and Russia[citation needed]. He has refused to stop the nuclear program of Iran against the demands of the UN Security Council, declaring that the Iranian nuclear enrichment program is for peaceful purposes only.[4] He has been condemned internationally[5] for "calling for Israel to be 'wiped off the map,'"[5][6][7] and describing the Holocaust as a "myth",[5][8] leading to accusations of antisemitism,[9] though Ahmadinejad has stated that he is "not anti-Jew," and that he "respect[s] them very much."[10] and the are no report on any anti-Semitism towards Persian Jews, and even he donated some money for building a Jewish hospital in Tehran. Even the leaders of Jewish minority of Iran, could criticize him freely for his comments regarding Holocaust. [17][18] [19][20] [21][22]

Contents

Personal life and education

Ahmadinejad, the son of a blacksmith, was born in Garmsar, near Tehran on October 28, 1956. In 1976, he took Iran's national university entrance exams (konkoor) to gain admission into Iran's top universities. His test score ranked him 132nd among over 400,000 participants that year,[11] landing him at the prestigious Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) as an undergraduate student of civil engineering.

After the revolution, he entered the Master of Science program for civil engineering in 1984. In 1989, he became a member of the Science faculty at the university whereat he had studied.[12] In 1997, he received his Ph.D. in transportation engineering and planning from the Science and Technology University. Even after being elected President, Ahmadinejad continued living in a simple apartment flat and eating meals brought from home, in his office. Both of these traits contributed to his widespread support amongst the poorer classes of Iran.[13]

Ahmadinejad is married with two sons and one daughter.[14] One of his sons formerly studied at the Amirkabir University of Technology.[15]

Timeline

Place Position Year(s)
Garmsar - 1956
Tehran university examinee 1975
Basij paramilitary member in engineering division c.1980-1984
Iran University of Science and Technology graduate student c.1986-1989
Maku Governor c. early 1990s
Khoy Governor c. early 1990s
Kurdistan Province Advisor to Governor General c. early 1990s
Tehran Advisor to Minister of Culture 1993
Ardabil Province Governor General 1993-1997
Tehran Active professor 1997-2003
Tehran Mayor 2003-2005
Iran President 2005-
Iran University of Science and Technology Member of science & engineering board 1989-

Early political career

See also: Controversies surrounding Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad was politically active as a student during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, and represented the University of Science and Technology in the Students Movement at the Central Committee for the “Office of Growth of Unity of the Students” where the plan for the embassy takeover was presented. [16] Reportedly, he first opposed the take-over .[17] [18] or supported a larger plan that included the simultaneous take-over of the Soviet Union embassy [19] until the Ayatollah Khomeni gave his approval of the US embassy take-over.[20] Several former hostages and the former President of Iran have identified Ahmadinejad as one of the key individuals holding Americans inside the embassy. [21] In a secret report specifically investigating this issue, the CIA declared this identification "Not proven". [22] [23]

Ahmadinejad served as Governor General of Ardabil Province from 1993 to 1997 but was not a nationally known figure when he was appointed Mayor of Tehran by the second City Council of Tehran on May 3, 2003, after a 12% turnout led to the election of the conservative candidates of Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran in Tehran. During his mayorship, he reversed many of the changes put into effect by previous moderate and reformist mayors, putting religious emphasis on the activities of the cultural centers founded by previous mayors, going on the record with the separation of elevators for men and women in the municipality offices,[24] and suggesting that the bodies of those killed in the Iran-Iraq War be buried in major city squares of Tehran. Such actions were coupled with an emphasis on charity, such as distributing free soup to the poor.

After two years as mayor, Ahmadinejad was shortlisted in a list of 65 finalists for World Mayor in 2005.[25] Out of the 550 nominated mayors, nine were from Asia.[26]

He was not much better known when he entered the presidential election campaign, although he had already made his mark for rolling back earlier reforms. After his election to the presidency, Ahmadinejad resigned from his post as the mayor of Tehran. His resignation was accepted on June 28, 2005.

He is a member of the Central Council of the Islamic Society of Engineers, but he has a more powerful base inside the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran (Abadgaran) and is considered one of the main figures in the alliance.[citation needed]

Presidency

Presidential campaign

Ahmadinejad generally sent mixed signals about his plans for his presidency, which some US-based analysts considered to have been designed to attract both religious conservatives and the lower economic classes [27]. His campaign motto was, "It's possible and we can do it." (می‌شود و می‌توانیم‎ ​).

In his presidential campaign, Ahmadinejad took a populist approach, with emphasis on his own modest life, and had compared himself with Mohammad Ali Rajai, the second president of Iran—a claim that raised objections from Rajai's family. Ahmadinejad claims he plans to create an "exemplary government for the people of the world" in Iran. He is a self-described "principlist"; that is, acting politically based on Islamic and revolutionary principles. One of his goals is "putting the petroleum income on people's tables", referring to Iran's oil profits being distributed among the poor. [28]

Ahmadinejad was the only presidential candidate who spoke out against future relations with the United States. Also, in an interview with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting a few days before the elections, Ahmadinejad accused the United Nations of being "one-sided, stacked against the world of Islam."[29] He has openly opposed the veto power given to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. In the same interview, he stated, "It is not just for a few states to sit and veto global approvals. Should such a privilege continue to exist, the Muslim world with a population of nearly 1.5 billion should be extended the same privilege." In addition, he has defended Iran's nuclear program and has accused "a few arrogant powers" of attempting to limit Iran's industrial and technological development in this and other fields.

After his election he proclaimed, "Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen and the Islamic revolution of 1384 [the current Iranian year] will, if God wills, cut off the roots of injustice in the world." He said, that "the wave of the Islamic revolution" would soon "reach the entire world."[30]

During his campaign for the second round, he said, "We didn't participate in the revolution for turn-by-turn government.…This revolution tries to reach a world-wide government." Also he has mentioned that he has an extended program on fighting terrorism in order to improve foreign relations and has called for greater ties with Iran's neighbours and ending visa requirements between states in the region, saying that "people should visit anywhere they wish freely. People should have freedom in their pilgrimages and tours." [31] Since his election to the presidency he has taken a tough stand on a number of foreign policy matters, in line with his hard-line background.

As confirmed by Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, a senior cleric from Qom, is President Ahmadinejad's ideological mentor and spiritual guide. Mesbah is the founder of Haghani School of thought in Iran. He and his team strongly supported Ahmadinejad's campaign during presidential election in 2005.[32]

Election

Ahmadinejad became the President of Iran on August 6, 2005, after winning 62% of the vote in the run-off poll, nearly twice that of ex-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.[33] He received the presidential authorization from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on August 3, 2005.[34] During the authorization ceremony he kissed Khamenei's hand in demonstration of his loyalty to him.[35][36] Journalist Amir Taheri claims that Khamenei's eldest son Mujtaba acted as Ahmadinejad's campaign manager during the election.[37]

Cabinet

Ahmadinejad was required to introduce his suggested ministers to Majlis for a vote of approval in fifteen days, after which Majlis would have one week to decide about the ministers. It was mentioned by Masoud Zaribafan, Ahmadinejad's campaign manager, that Ahmadinejad would probably introduce his cabinet on the same day of his vow, which did not happen, but the list was finally sent to the Majlis on August 14. The Majlis were set to vote on the suggested ministers by August 21.

The parliament had held a private meeting on August 5, when Ahmadinejad presented a shortlist of three or four candidates for each ministry, to know the opinion of Majlis about his candidates. The final list was officially sent to the Majlis on August 14, 2005.

After a few days of heavy discussions in Majlis, which started on August 21, 2005, Ahmadinejad's cabinet was voted for on August 24, 2005, and became the first cabinet since the Iranian revolution in not winning a complete vote of approval.[citation needed] Four candidates, for the ministries of Cooperatives, Education, Petroleum, and Welfare and Social Security, all previous colleagues of Ahmadinejad in the Municipality of Tehran, were voted down, with the other candidates becoming ministers.[citation needed]

The list of suggested ministers and their votes went:[38]

Ministry Candidate minister Approvals Denials Abstentions
Agricultural Mohammad Reza Eskandari (Persian bio) 214 45 24
Commerce Seyyed Masoud Mirkazemi 169 85 25
Communication and Information Technology Mohammad Soleimani 220 43 16
Cooperatives Alireza Ali-Ahmadi 105 134 34
Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi 181 78 20
Defense and Logistics Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar 205 55 17
Economy and Financial Affairs Davoud Danesh-Jafari (Persian bio) 216 47 19
Education Ali Akbar Ash'ari (Persian bio) 73 175 31
Energy Parviz Fattah (Persian bio) 194 56 23
Foreign Affairs Manouchehr Mottaki (Persian bio) 220 47 16
Health and Medical Education Kamran Bagheri Lankarani (Persian bio) 169 86 27
Housing and Urban Development Mohammad Saeedikia 222 31 25
Industries and Mines Alireza Tahmasbi 182 58 30
Intelligence Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeii (Persian bio) 217 51 13
Interior Mostafa Pourmohammadi (Persian bio) 153 90 31
Justice Jamal Karimi-Rad (Persian bio) 191 59 24
Labour and Social Affairs Mohammad Jahromi 197 59 20
Petroleum Ali Saeedlou 101 133 38
Petroleum Mohsen Tasalloti 77 139 38
Petroleum Kazem Vaziri Hamane 172 53 34
Roads and Transportation Mohammad Rahmati (Persian bio) 214 43 21
Science, Research, and Technology Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi (Persian bio) 144 101 35
Welfare and Social Security Mehdi Hashemi 131 108 36

The new board of ministers held its first meeting on August 25 in Mashhad, promising to keep frequent meetings to cities other than the capital, Tehran. Temporary supervisors for two of the four ministries without new ministers were appointed by Ahmadinejad on August 27, Mohammad Nazemi Ardakani for the Ministry of Cooperatives and Davoud Madadi for the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security.[citation needed]

Domestic policy

Economy

See also: Economy of Iran

Ahmadinejad submitted his first annual budget, covering April 2006–March 2007, to Iran’s parliament on January 15, 2006. The draft budget called for 1,956 trillion Rials (US$217.4 billion) in total spending, 27% more than in the fiscal 2005–06 budget. The oil-revenue projections, a significant portion of fiscal revenues, were based on a US$39.70/barrel price forecast for oil exports. The plan called on state-owned banks to allocate a larger portion of their resources to consumer loans for low-income families and small enterprises in underdeveloped regions. It also called for a visible increase in housing subsidies for low-income families, accounting for roughly US$1 billion in construction costs for the worse off.[39]

Ahmadinejad is said to have devoted approximately 35 billion Rials (roughly US$3.5 million) to an NGO associated with Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, an increase of almost tenfold.[40]

In June 2006, 50 Iranian economists wrote a letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, criticising price interventions to stabilize prices of goods, cement, and government services, as well as a decree issued by the High Labor Council and the Ministry of Labor proposing an increase of workers' salaries by 40%. Ahmadinejad publicly responded harshly to the letter and denounced the accusations.[41][42]

On January 25, 2007, The president called high petrol consumption as the main problem facing national economy.[43]

“So far, this year (started March 21, 2006) the Oil Ministry has spent billions of dollars for importing petrol”, he noted. The government is trying to control the high petrol consumption, but it has no plan to sell the petrol at the market price, he stated. He also refused a gradual increase of petrol prices, saying after making necessary preparations such as a development of public transportation system the government will free up petrol prices after five years. [44]

Family planning and population policy

See also: Family planning in Iran

In October 2006, President Ahmadinejad opposed encouraging families to limit themselves to just two children, stating that Iran could cope with 50 million more people than the current 70 million.[45]

In remarks that have drawn criticism, he told MPs he wanted to scrap existing birth control policies which discouraged Iranian couples from having more than two children. [23]

Critics reacted with alarm and said the president’s call was ill-judged at a time when Iran was struggling with surging inflation and rising unemployment, unofficially estimated at around 25%. Mr Ahmadinejad’s call for a higher birth rate echoes a similar demand by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after the triumph of Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979. The policy led to a population explosion but was later reversed because of the strain on the economy. As a result, population growth dropped from an all-time high of 3.2% in 1986 to around 1.2% today, similar to that of the United States. [24]

Housing

The first legislation to emerge from his newly formed government was a 12 trillion Rial (US$1.3 billion) fund called "Reza's Compassion Fund"[46] which was named after one of Shi'a Islam's Imams, Ali al-Rida. By tapping into Iran's oil revenues, Ahmadinejad's government claims that this fund will be used to help young people to get jobs and to afford marriage, as well to assist in purchasing their own homes. The fund also sought charitable donations, and includes a boards of trustees in each of Iran's 30 provinces. The new plan is subject to the approval of the conservative-held Majlis, but is seen as unlikely to encounter strong opposition, given that deputies in the Majles have also shown an eagerness to focus on resolving economic problems. The legislation was in response to the costly housing in urban centres which is pushing up the national average marital age (currently around 25 years for women and 28 years for men). In 2006 the Iranian parliament rejected the fund. However, Ahmadinejad allegedly put his proposal into practice by ordering the administrative council to execute the plan.[47]

Women's rights

On 24 April 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that a ruling which prevented women from watching men playing sports in stadiums would soon be reversed.[48] A state television announcer reported that Ahmadinejad "ordered the head of the sports organization to provide facilities in the stadiums to watch national matches." Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying: "The best stands should be allocated to women and families in the stadiums in which national and important matches are being held." Two days earlier, Ahmadinejad had objected to punishment of women appearing in stadiums without proper hijab. His remarks angered some supporters.[49] Soon after his remarks, several of the highest-ranking clerics and marjas including, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi and Grand Ayatollahs Nouri Hamedani, Safi Golpaygani, Makarem Shirazi, Fazel Lankarani and Tabrizi announced their objection to his decision, urgently calling for cancellation of the order. In Qom, many clerics demonstrated against the president's letter.[50]Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reversed the decision[51] and 60,000+ mullahs at the grassroots level of sharia courts to national level expressed concerns. A Shi'ite news agency quoted one of Ahmadinejad's advisors saying that the President's statement about the attendance of women in stadium was a political measure to defend the government against a US-led conspiracy. According to these reports, Ahmadinejad's government believed that the attendance of women in stadiums was against Sharia and therefore had to be banned, contrary to the earlier letter.[52] Conservatives in Iran have been angered by a perceived deterioration in obedience to the republic's female Islamic dress code. Conservative MP Rafat Bayat has blamed Ahmadinejad for this, saying that observance of the required hijab has declined because Ahmadinejad is "not that strict on this issue"[53].

Universities

In 2006, the Ahmadinejad government reportedly forced numerous Iranian scientists and University professors to resign or to retire. It has been referred to as "second cultural revolution" after the Islamic Cultural Revolution earlier.[54][55] The policy has been said to replace current professors with younger ones.[56] Many University professors received letters indicating their early retirement unexpectedly.[57] In November 2006, 53 University Professors were forced to retire at Iran University of Science and Technology, according to Advar News agency.[58]

In 2006, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government applied a 50% quota for male students and 50% for female students in the University entrance exam for Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy. The plan was supposed to stop the growing presence of female students in the Universities. In a response to critics, Iranian minister of health and medical education, Kamran Bagheri Lankarani argued that there is not enough facilities such as dormitories for female students. Masoud Salehi, president of Zahedan University said that presence of women generates some problems with transportation. Also Ebrahim Mekaniki, president of Babol University of Medical Sciences stated that an increase in the presence of women will make it difficult to distribute facilities in a suitable manner. Bagher Larijani, the president of Tehran University of Medical Sciences made similar remarks. According to Rooz Online, the quotas lack a legal foundation and are justified as support for "family" and "religion."[59]


Nuclear program

See also: Nuclear program of Iran

Ahmadinejad has been a vocal supporter of Iran's nuclear program. On January 11, 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran would have peaceful nuclear technology very soon. He also emphasized that building a nuclear bomb is not the policy of his government. He has said that there was no such policy and that such a policy was "illegal and against our religion."[60][verification needed]

He also added at a January 2006 conference in Tehran that a nation that had "culture, logic and civilisation" would not need nuclear weapons, but that countries which sought nuclear weapons were those which wanted to solve all problems by the use of force.[61]

In April 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had successfully refined uranium to a stage suitable for the nuclear fuel cycle. In a speech to students and academics in Mashad, he was quoted saying that Iran's conditions had changed completely as it became a nuclear state and could talk to other states from that stand.[62]

On April 13, 2006, Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying that the peaceful Iranian nuclear technology would not pose a threat to any party because "we want peace and stability and we will not cause injustice to anyone and at the same time we will not submit to injustice."[63]

However, the office of the Iranian President is not responsible for nuclear policy. It is instead set by the Supreme National Security Council. The council includes representatives appointed by the Supreme Leader, military officials and members of the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government (see eg. Ali Larijani), and reports directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons in 2005.[64]

On November 15, 2006 the Iranian President announced that "Today the Iranian nation possesses the full nuclear fuel cycle." [65]

Domestic criticism of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Some critics have alleged that President Ahmadinejad is becoming increasingly unpopular at home for spending too much time criticizing the United States and not enough time reforming the nation's stagnant economy. [66]

At one point in the past year, the prices for vegetables tripled in December 2006, housing prices have doubled since summer 2006 — and as costs have gone up, so has some Iranians‘ discontent with hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his focus on confrontation with the West. He is being challenged not only by reformers but by some conservatives who paved the way for his stunning victory in 2005 presidential elections. Ahmadinejad‘s government "has been strong on populist slogans but weak on achievement," said Mohammad Khoshchehreh, who campaigned for Ahmadinejad during the election.[67]

It is claimed that Iran's increasing economic and diplomatic isolation, have pushed conservatives inside Iran to distance themselves from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. More than 50 parliamentary members signed a letter in January 2007, calling on Ahmadinejad to appear before parliament to explain himself.[68] Iranian sources say that Ahmadinejad may be vulnerable as Khamenei is said to have voiced his displeasure with him and due to the fact that the latter has the authority to dismiss the president. Khamenei himself usually refrains from speaking in public but in what is claimed to be his privately owned newspaper, he is supposed to have criticized the president's "personalization" of the nuclear issue.[69][70] However, sources close to the President have said the article comes from Rafsanjani.[71] Ahmadinejad’s team lost the 2006 City council elections and his spiritual mentor, Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi was only ranked sixth on the country's Assembly of Experts.[72] Later, a source denied any rift between the nation's top politician and Ahmadinejad[73].

While the campaign to summon Ahmadinejad to appear in the Majlis is gathering momentum, some Majlis deputies have threatened to impeach the ministers of interior and education. According to reports published by various news agencies, the bills to impeach Mostafa Pourmohammadi (Minister of the Interior) and Mahmoud Farshidi (Minister of Education) will be introduced in Majlis on 24 Jan 2006.[74]

In January 2007, Hossein Ali Montazeri harshly criticized Ahmadinejad and accused him of harming the country. Montazeri, 85, is the most senior theologian of the Shiite Muslim faith. Also Mohammad Moussavian, a former senior nuclear negotiator accused Ahmadinejad of lying to the people about the grave consequences of the penalties voted for by the Security Council. "Our advice to the president is to speak about the nuclear issue only during important national occasions, stop provoking aggressive powers like the United States and concentrate more on the daily needs of the people, those who voted for you on your promises," wrote the Islamic Republic, a newspaper owned by Khamenei.[75]

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is a capitalist, has invoked the supreme leader, suggesting the leader was pained by the very slow pace of privatisation under Mr Ahmadinejad's government.[76]

An organization numbering 12,000 students led by student leader Abbas Fakhr-Avar, living in exile in the United states, opposes Ahmadinejad and hopes to topple his government. [77]

December 2006 Student protest

On December 11, 2006, students disrupted a speech by Ahmadinejad at the Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. According to the Iranian Student News Agency, students set fire to photographs of Ahmadinejad and threw firecrackers. The protesters also chanted "death to the dictator". It was the first major public protest against Ahmadinejad since his election. In a statement carried on the students' Web site[citation needed], they announced that they had been protesting the growing political pressure under Ahmadinejad, also accusing him of corruption, mismanagement, and discrimination. "The students showed that despite vast propaganda, the president has not been able to deceive academia", the statement added. It was also reported that some students were angry about the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust.[citation needed]

In response to the students slogans, the president said: "We have been standing up to dictatorship so that no one will dare to establish dictatorship in a millennium even in the name of freedom. Given the scars inflicted on the Iranian nation by agents of the US and British dictatorship, no one will ever dare to initiate the rise of a dictator".[78] Iranian media reported even though the protesters broke the TV cameras, and threw hand-made bombs at Ahmadinejad [25], the president asked the officials not to question or disturb the protesters.[79] In his blog, Ahmadinejad described his reaction to the incident as "a feeling of joy."[80]

1,000 students also protested the day before to denounce the increasing pressure on the reformist groups at the university, newspapers reported. In the week prior, more than 2,000 students protested at Tehran University on the country's annual student day [26], with speakers saying there had been a crackdown on dissent at universities since Ahmadinejad was elected.[81][82]

2006 Councils and Assembly of Experts election

In the first nationwide election since Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, allies of the Iranian President failed to dominate election returns for the Assembly of Experts and local councils. Turnout of about 60 percent was reported, with the results suggesting a voter shift toward more moderate policies. "The results show that voters have learned from the past and concluded that we need to support . . . moderate figures", the independent daily newspaper Kargozaran said in an editorial. "This is a blow for Ahmadinejad and Mesbah-Yazdi's list", an Iranian political analyst was quoted as saying.[83]

Parliamentary Opposition and vetoes by the Supreme Leader

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has had a number of struggles first of all on winning the Presidential election to get his nominations for official positions through parliament and to pass his legislation.

He was vetoed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei when he attempted to change the law to permit women to attend sporting events[84], and has been considered "not strict" on the issue of enforcement of Islamic dress codes.[85]

His criticism of the West has been controversial in the Iranian Parliament, leading to attempts to compel him to go to the parliament to answer questions, although impeachment is unlikely.[86]

Foreign policy

Iran-United States relations

See also: United States-Iran relations
See also: Controversies surrounding Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Wikisource has original text related to this article:

On May 8, 2006, Ahmadinejad sent a personal letter to United States President George Bush to propose "new ways" to end Iran's nuclear dispute.[87] U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley both reviewed the letter and dismissed it as a negotiating ploy and publicity stunt that did not address U.S. concerns about Iran's nuclear program.[88] A few days later at a meeting in Jakarta, Ahmadinejad said, "the letter was an invitation to monotheism and justice, which are common to all divine prophets."[89]

On August 8, 2006, he gave a television interview to Mike Wallace, a correspondent for 60 Minutes.[7]

In mid 2006, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invited President George W.Bush to a debate at the United Nation General Assembly which was to take place on the 19th of September 2006. The debate was to be about Iran's right to enrich uranium. The invitation was promptly rejected by the a White House spokesman Tony Snow who said "There's not going to be a steel-cage grudge match between the President and Ahmadinejad."[90]

On November 29, 2006, Ahmadinejad wrote an open letter to the American people, representing some of his anxieties and concerns. He stated that there is an urgency to have a dialog because of the activities of the US administration in the Middle East, and their concealing the truth about current realities. The letter criticized many policies of the US administration, and claimed that the American people "showed their discontent in the recent elections."[91] In the letter, he also states that Iran condemns all terrorism. The current U.S. administration considers Iran to be the world's leading state supporter of terrorism and Iran has been on the United States' state sponsors of terrorism list since 1984.[92][93][94]

Iran-Russia relations

See also: Iran-Russia relations

Ahmadinejad has moved to strengthen relations with Russia, setting up an office expressly dedicated to the purpose in October 2005. He has worked with Vladimir Putin on the nuclear issue, and both Putin and Ahmadinejad have expressed a desire for more mutual cooperation on issues involving the Caspian Sea.[95] However, Western intelligence officials recently accused Ahmadinejad of sanctioning the training and funding of Chechen rebels, who are fighting against Russia, inside Iran.[96]

Anti-Israel statements

See also: Iran-Israel relations
Demonstrators outside the ex-US embassy in Tehran hold a poster of Ahmadinejad, saying "Isreal must be wiped out the world" [sic], November 2, 2005
Demonstrators outside the ex-US embassy in Tehran hold a poster of Ahmadinejad, saying "Isreal must be wiped out the world" [sic], November 2, 2005

On October 26, 2005 Ahmadinejad gave a speech at a conference in Tehran entitled "World Without Zionism". According to widely published translations, he agreed with a statement he attributed to Ayatollah Khomeini that the "occupying regime" had to be removed, and referred to it as a "disgraceful stain [on] the Islamic world" that must be "wiped off the map".[6]

Ahmadinejad's comments were condemned by major Western governments, the European Union, Russia, the United Nations Security Council and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.[97] Egyptian, Turkish and Palestinian leaders also expressed displeasure over Ahmadinejad's remark.[98] Canada's then Prime Minister Paul Martin said, “this threat to Israel's existence, this call for genocide coupled with Iran's obvious nuclear ambitions is a matter that the world cannot ignore.”[99]

The translation of his statement has been disputed. Some experts claim that the phrase in question is more accurately translated as "eliminated" or "wiped off" or "wiped away" from "the page of time" or "the pages of history", rather than "wiped off the map". [100] Reviewing the controversy over the translation, New York Times deputy foreign editor Ethan Bronner observed that "all official translations" of the comments, including the foreign ministry and president's office, "refer to wiping Israel away".[101]

Ahmadinejad has compared Israel's actions in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict to Adolf Hitler's actions during World War II saying that "Just like Hitler, the Zionist regime is just looking for a pretext for launching military attacks" and "is now acting just like him."[102]

On August 8, 2006, he gave a television interview to Mike Wallace, a correspondent for 60 Minutes, in which he questioned American support of Israel's "murderous regime" and the moral grounds for Israel's invasion of Lebanon.[7]

On December 2, 2006, Ahmadinejad met with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah in Doha, Qatar. At that meeting, he said that Israel "was created to establish dominion of arrogant states over the region and to enable the enemy to penetrate the heart Muslim land." He called Israel a "threat" and said it was created to create tensions in and impose US and UK policies upon the region.[103]

On December 12, 2006, Ahmadinejad addressed the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, and made comments about the future of Israel. He said, "Israel is about to crash. This is God's promise and the wish of all the world's nations." He continued, "Everyone must know that just as the U.S.S.R. disappeared, this will also be the fate of the Zionist regime, and humanity will be free."[104]

Holocaust denial and accusations of antisemitism

See also: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israel

In December 2005 Ahmadinejad made several controversial statements about the Holocaust, calling it "a myth", and criticizing European laws against Holocaust denial. [105] In a May 30, 2006 interview with Der Spiegel Ahmadinejad again questioned the Holocaust several times, insisting there were "two opinions" on it. When asked if the Holocaust was a myth, he responded "I will only accept something as truth if I am actually convinced of it".[106]

In response to these statements and actions, a variety of sources, including the U.S. Senate, [107] have accused Ahmadinejad of antisemitism. Ahmadinejad has recently insisted that he is not an antisemite, saying "Some people think if they accuse me of being anti-Jew they can solve the problem. No, I am not Anti-Jew. I respect them very much." [108]

On December 11, 2006 the "International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust" opened, to widespread condemnation.[109] The conference, called for by and held at the behest of Ahmadinejad,[110] was widely described as a "Holocaust denial conference" or a "meeting of Holocaust deniers",[111] though Iran maintained that it is not a Holocaust denial conference.[112]

Human rights

Major human rights organizations and many Western governments say the current human rights situation in Iran under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is poor; for example, the Canadian government listed Iran as one of the thirteen worst abusers of human rights in 2006.[113] According to Amnesty International, dissidents who oppose the government non-violently face harassment, torture and execution and the election of Ahmadinejad signaled the defeat of "pro-reform" supporters [27]. According to Human Rights Watch, "[r]espect for basic human rights in Iran, especially freedom of expression and assembly, deteriorated in 2006. The government routinely tortures and mistreats detained dissidents, including through prolonged solitary confinement."

Human Rights Watch described the source of human rights violations in contemporary Iran as coming from on the one hand the Judiciary, accountable to Ali Khamenei, and on the other to members directly appointed by Ahmadinejad. Again according to Human Rights Watch, "[s]ince President Ahmadinejad came to power, treatment of detainees has worsened in Evin prison as well as in detention centers operated clandestinely by the Judiciary, the Ministry of Information, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps." [28]

Tolerance of public protest varies under Ahmadinejad. Human Rights Watch writes that "[t]he Ahmadinejad government, in a pronounced shift from the policy under former president Mohammed Khatami, has shown no tolerance for peaceful protests and gatherings."

In January 2006 security forces attacked striking bus drivers in Tehran and detained hundreds. The government refused to recognize the drivers’ independent union or engage in collective bargaining with them. In February government forces attacked a peaceful gathering of Sufi devotees in front of their religious building in Qum to prevent its destruction by the authorities, using tear gas and water cannons to disperse them. In March police and plainclothes agents charged a peaceful assembly of women’s rights activists in Tehran and beat hundreds of women and men who had gathered to commemorate International Women’s Day. In June as women’s rights defenders assembled again in Tehran, security forces beat them with batons, sprayed them with pepper gas, marked the demonstrators with sprayed dye, and took 70 people into custody. [29]

Responses to dissent vary. In December 2006, Ahmadinejad advised officials not to disturb students who engaged in a rowdy protest during a speech of his at the Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran.[114], although speakers at other protests have included among their complaints that there had been a crackdown on dissent at universities since Ahmadinejad was elected.[115][116]

See also

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

References

  1. ^ IPA: [mæhˈmud æhmædineˈʒɒd]. His name transliterates into Persian as محمود احمدی‌نژاد‎ ​ Maḥmūd Aḥmadīnezhād, and can be transcribed into English as Mahmud or Mahmood, Ahmadinezhad, Ahmadi-Nejad, Ahmadi Nejad, or Ahmady Nejad.
  2. ^ SalamIran - IRI's Constitution - see Article 113.
  3. ^ Noam Chomsky (2007). A Predator Becomes More Dangerous When Wounded. Archived from the original on 20 March,. Retrieved on 28 March 28, 2007. “It is also necessary to demonise the leadership. In the west, any wild statement by President Ahmadinejad is circulated in headlines, dubiously translated. But Ahmadinejad has no control over foreign policy, which is in the hands of his superior, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The US media tend to ignore Khamenei's statements, especially if they are conciliatory. It's widely reported when Ahmadinejad says Israel shouldn't exist - but there is silence when Khamenei says that Iran supports the Arab League position on Israel-Palestine, calling for normalisation of relations with Israel if it accepts the international consensus of a two-state settlement.”
  4. ^ "Iran president 'ready for talks'", BBC News, February 12, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b c "When Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks out candidly — as is his habit — he scares a lot of people. He has said more than once that Israel should be wiped off the map, and that the Holocaust is an overblown fairytale.…‘Israel, you have said time and again, Israel must be wiped off the map. Please explain why. And what is Iran doing about that?’ Wallace asked.…Then Wallace tried to get the president back to his most inflammatory statement regarding Israel. ‘You are very good at filibustering,’ Wallace remarked. ‘You still have not answered the question. You still have not answered the question. Israel must be wiped off the map. Why?’
    ‘Well, don't be hasty sir,’ the president said. ‘I'm going to get to that. I think that the Israeli government is a fabricated government.’" "Iranian Leader Opens Up:Ahmadinejad Speaks Candidly With Mike Wallace About Israel, Nukes, Bush", 60 Minutes, CBS News, August 13, 2006. Accessed 2006-10-18
  8. ^
    • "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has again caused international outcry by repeating his view that the Holocaust was a myth. In a speech broadcast live on state television on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad told a crowd in the southern city of Zahedan: 'They have fabricated a legend under the name Massacre of the Jews, and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves. If somebody in their country questions God, nobody says anything, but if somebody denies the myth of the massacre of Jews, the Zionist loudspeakers and the governments in the pay of Zionism will start to scream." "Ahmadinejad: Holocaust a myth", Al Jazeera, December 15, 2005.
    • "'They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets,' Ahmadinejad said in a speech to thousands of people in the Iranian city of Zahedan, according to a report on Wednesday from Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. 'The West has given more significance to the myth of the genocide of the Jews, even more significant than God, religion, and the prophets,' he said. '(It) deals very severely with those who deny this myth but does not do anything to those who deny God, religion, and the prophet.'". "Iranian leader: Holocaust a 'myth'", CNN, December 14, 2005.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Iranian leader 'not anti-Semite'", BBC News, September 21, 2006.
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  15. ^ http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/12/11/164728.shtml
  16. ^ “Details of the plan for the takeover of American Embassy in Tehran were revealed for the first time. The names of the “nucleus” students who are the followers of Imam’s Line”, 14 Feb 1999, Aria, as reported and translated on Making Sense of Jihad
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  18. ^ Secor, Laura. "Whose Iran?", New York Times, 28 January 2007. Retrieved on [[28 January 2007]].
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  22. ^ Ex-Hostages Demand CIA Release Its Report on Iranian President
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  24. ^ تفكيك آسانسور خانمها و آقايان سیاست مفیدی ست/ جداسازیها باعث پیشرفت زن و مرد می شود ‎ ​ ((Persian)). Entekhab News (2005). Retrieved on 2006-08-31.
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  41. ^ Daily Star - Iranian economists lash out at Ahmadinejad's policies.
  42. ^ USA TODAY - Geopolitics casts pall on hobbled Iranian economy.
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  51. ^ Iran to keep stadium ban on women
  52. ^ دستور ورود زنان به ورزشگاه‌، از زبان مشاور روحانيون احمدي‌نژاد‎ ​ ((Persian)). Baztab. Retrieved on 2006-10-17.
  53. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6213854.stm
  54. ^ مخالفت با انقلاب دوم فرهنگی‎ ​ ((Persian)). Rooz. Retrieved on 2006-10-18.
  55. ^ Irani, Hamed (June 23, 2006). Cleansing in the Name of Retirement. Rooz. Retrieved on 2006-10-18.
  56. ^ انتقاد خوش چهره از خانه نشين كردن اساتيد‎ ​ ((Persian)). Aftab news. Retrieved on 2006-10-18.
  57. ^ ابعاد خانه نشین شدن استادان دانشگاه‎ ​ ((Persian)). Aftab news. Retrieved on 2006-10-18.
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  62. ^ Ahmadinejad: Iran can now talk to world from vantage point of a nuclear state. Arabicnews.com (April 13, 2006). Retrieved on 2006-10-29.
  63. ^ Ahmadinejad: Iran nuke right non-negotiable. UPI (April 13, 2006). Retrieved on 2006-12-06.
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  84. ^ Iran women sports ruling vetoed BBC News, 8 May 2006
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Further reading

  • Harris, David [30] (2004). The Crisis: the President, the Prophet, and the Shah—1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam. Little, Brown. 

External links

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Preceded by
Mohammad Khatami
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
2005 – present
Incumbent