Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
محمود احمدی نژاد‎ ​
Image:Ahmadinejad New York 2005.jpg


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

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

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  (Persian: محمود احمدی نژاد‎ ​, IPA: [mæhˈmud æhmædineˈʒɒd]), transcribed into English as Mahmud or Mahmood, Ahmadinezhad, Ahmadi-Nejad, Ahmadi Nejad, Ahmady Nejad) (born October 28, 1956) is the current president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 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.

Ahmadinejad is a controversial figure, criticized by Western governments for various statements including the widely reported statement regarding Israel that “Our dear Imam (Ruhollah Khomeini) said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement,”<ref name = "NYT UN Speech">Template:Cite web </ref><ref name = "CNN Map">Template:Cite web </ref><ref>Template:Cite web </ref><ref>Template:Cite web </ref><ref name = "MA 60 Minutes">Template:Cite web </ref> his support for Hezbollah,<ref>Sciolino, Elaine, Nazila Fathi. "TURMOIL IN THE MIDEAST: THE REGION; An Embodiment of Iran's Long Shadow: Missiles for Hezbollah" (Abstract), The New York Times, July 19, 2006, p. A12. Retrieved on 2006-10-18. </ref> his denial of the Holocaust,<ref name = "Zippori">Template:Cite web </ref> and his questioning the legitimacy of Israel's existence.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>


[edit] Personal life and education

Born in the village of Arādān near Garmsar, his family moved to Tehran when he was one year old. In 1976, he took Iran's national university entrance exams to gain admission into Iran's top universities. His test score ranked him 132nd among over 400,000 participants that year,<ref>Template:Cite web </ref> landing him at the prestigious Elm Va Sanat University Of Tehran as an undergraduate student of civil engineering. He continued his studies and entered the Master of Science program for civil engineering in 1984. In 1987, he received his PhD in traffic and transportation engineering and planning. The graduate program was a special program for Revolutionary Guard members funded by the organization. After graduation, he was appointed a professor at the civil engineering department at IUST. Ahmadinejad is married, and has two sons and two daughters.

[edit] Early political career

Ahmadinejad 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,<ref>Template:Cite web </ref> 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.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Out of the 550 nominated mayors, nine were from Asia.<ref>The 2005 World Mayor finalists</ref>

Ahmadinejad resigned from his post as the mayor of Tehran after his election to the presidency. His resignation was accepted on June 28, 2005.

[edit] Presidency

[edit] Presidential campaign

Image:Lukashenko Ahmadinejad 2006.jpg
Ahmadinejad, left, with Alexander Lukashenko in Tehran in 2006

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 <ref> Template:Cite web</ref>. His campaign motto was, "It's possible and we can do it." (می‌شود و می‌توانیم‎ ​)(ما كرديم شد).

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. [citation needed]

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."<ref>Template:Cite web </ref> 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."<ref>Navai, Ramita. "President invokes new Islamic wave", The Times (UK) Online, 30 June 2005. Retrieved on 2006-05-12.</ref>

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." <ref>"Profile of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Friend or foe?".</ref>

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.<ref>"Iran Symposium: 'Divide and empower'".</ref>

[edit] Election

Ahmadinejad became the President of Iran on August 6, 2005, after wining 62% of the vote and his inauguration ceremony in the parliment.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed] He received the presidential authorization from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on August 3, 2005. During the authorization ceremony he kissed Khamenei's hand in demonstration of his loyalty to him. The act caused a stir in the national media as he is the first Iranian president to kiss Khamenei's hand and the second Iranian president (after Mohammad Ali Rajai) to kiss a Supreme Leader's hand. Khamenei's eldest son Mujtaba allegedly supported Ahmadinejad's campaign during the election.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed] In a speech in 2006 Khamenei said: "This government is one of the most favorite government of Iran in 100 years."<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

In the first announcement after his presidency, Ahmadinejad asked the public servants not to post his photographs and pictures in governmental offices and use the pictures and photos of Khomeini and Khamenei only.[citation needed]

Ahmadinejad completed the requisite inaugural ceremonies on August 6, when he took a vow before the Majlis to protect Iran's national institutions: Shi'a Islam, the Islamic Republic, and the Constitution of Iran. Mohammad Reza Aref, Khatami's First Vice President, had been Acting President during the period of inaugural ceremonies.[citation needed]

[edit] 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. A news website close to Ahmadinejad published a partial list of Ahmadinejad's decisions based on the feedback, which was updated and changed a few times.[citation needed] 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:<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

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]

[edit] Domestic policy

[edit] Economy

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.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

The 2006-2007 budget proposal is to be an operational budget where funds would be devoted based on the outcome of an operation rather than dividing the budget among organizations. For example, 0.6% of GDP has been devoted to scientific research, slightly under half of what is demanded by Iran's 4th Five-Year Social and Economic Development Plan (ie. 1.25% of GDP).[citation needed]

Despite the government's hostility toward NGOs,<ref>Template:Cite web </ref> Ahmadinejad devoted approximately 35 billion Rials (roughly US$3.5 million) to an NGO associated with Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, an increase of almost tenfold.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

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.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

[edit] Family planning and population policy

In October 2006, President Ahmadinejad opposed encouraging families to have just two children and said his country could cope with 50 million more people than the 70 million it has now, the student news agency ISNA reported.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3]

[edit] 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"<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed] 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.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed]

[edit] 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.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref><ref>Template:Cite web </ref><ref>Iran split over female soccer fans CNN</ref>. A state television announcer reported that Ahmadinejad "ordered the head of the sports organisation 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.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed] Soon after his remarks, several of the highest ranking clerics and marjas including, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, Grand Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani, Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani, Grand Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani and Ayatollah Mirza Javad Tabrizi announced their objection to his decision, calling for urgent cancellation of the order. In Qom, many clerics demonstrated against the president's letter.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed]<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed]<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed]<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed]<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed] Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reversed the decision<ref>Iran to keep stadium ban on women</ref> 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 Islamic regime against a US-led conspiracy. According to these reports, Ahmadinejad's government believed that the attendance of women in stadiums were against Sharia and therefore had to be banned, contrary to the earlier letter.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed]

[edit] Science

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.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed]<ref>Template:Cite web </ref> The policy has been said to replace current professors with younger ones.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed] Many University professors received letters indicating their early retirement unexpectedly.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[verification needed] In November 2006, 53 University Professors were forced to retire all at once at Iran University of Science and Technology, according to Advar News agency.<ref>[4]</ref>

[edit] 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 the nuclear bomb is not the policy of his government. He reportedly said that there was no such policy and that such a policy was "illegal and against our religion."<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>[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.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

Ahmadinejad reportedly invited all countries to participate in Iran's nuclear project.[citation needed] He turned down an offer by Russian president Vladimir Putin to process uranium in order for Iran to use it.

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.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

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."[citation needed]

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 reportedly issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons in 2005.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

On November 15, 2006 the Iranian President announced that "Today the Iranian nation possesses the full nuclear fuel cycle." <ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

[edit] Foreign policy

[edit] United States-Iran relations

See also: United States-Iran relations

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.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref> 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.<ref name = "WPLetter">Template:Cite web </ref> A fews 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."<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

On August 8, 2006, he gave a television interview to Mike Wallace, a correspondent for 60 Minutes.<ref name = "MA 60 Minutes" />

On August 29, 2006, he invited George W. Bush to an open televised debate on his plan to have a peaceful nuclear program in place. The invitation was promptly rejected by the White House.

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."<ref>Template:Cite web </ref> In the letter, he also claims that Iran condemns all terrorism, though many in the United States consider Iran to be the world's leading state supporter of terrorism.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref><ref>Template:Cite web </ref><ref>Iran. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. November 30, 2006. Last accessed December 1, 2006.</ref>

[edit] 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.<ref>"Ahmadinejad: Special Hq to be formed for Tehran-Moscow cooperation", Islamic Republic News Agency, October 26, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-04-14.</ref> However, Western intelligence officials recently accused Ahmadinejad of sanctioning the training and funding of Chechen rebels, who are fighting against Russia, inside Iran.<ref>"Teheran 'secretly trains' Chechens to fight in Russia", The Telegraph, November 27, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-04-14.</ref>

[edit] Iran-Israel relations

See also: Iran-Israel relations

On October 23, 2005 Ahmadinejad gave a speech that contained antagonistic statements about Israel. 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 Israel as a "disgraceful stain [on] the Islamic world" that would be eliminated.<ref name = "NYT UN Speech" />

Ahmadinejad's comments were condemned by major Western governments, the European Union, Russia, the United Nations Security Council and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref> Egyptian, Turkish and Palestinian leaders also expressed displeasure over Ahmadinejad's remark.<ref>Template:Cite web </ref> 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.”<ref>Template:Cite web </ref>

The translation of his statement has been disputed. At a news conference on January 14, 2006, Ahmadinejad claimed regarding the October speech "There is no new policy, they created a lot of hue and cry over that."<ref name=nytimes>U.N. Scrutiny Won't Make Iran Quit Nuclear Effort, President Says, Nazila Fathi, New York Times, 15 January, 2006</ref> In June, 2006 The Guardian columnist and foreign correspondent Jonathan Steele cited several Farsi speakers and translators who state 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".<ref>Steele, Jonathan. Lost in translation, The Guardian, June 14, 2006.</ref> 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".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Further, when asked point-blank by 60 Minutes's Mike Wallace, Ahmadinejad made no denial of the statement.<ref name = "MA 60 Minutes" /> The fact that the unabridged statement expresses a desire to see the "occupying regime" in Israel become history like the Soviet empire, Saddam Hussein and the Shah regime in Iran is often overlooked by his critics, however.

Ahmadinejad also compared Israel's actions in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict to Adolf Hitler's actions during WWII saying that "Hitler sought pretexts to attack other nations" and that "the Zionist regime is seeking baseless pretexts to invade Islamic countries and right now it is justifying its attacks with groundless excuses".<ref>Iran's Ahmadinejad compares Israel to Hitler</ref>

On August 8, 2006, he gave a television interview to Mike Wallace, a correspondent for 60 Minutes, in which he talked about what he views as Israel's culpability for Lebanese suffering and the moral justification for Hezbollah's missile attacks. Later on in the interview Ahmadinejad was pressed on his views regarding the state of Israel, and asked to explain his previous statements questioning its right to exist, and suggesting that it should be relocated to Europe, since Europeans should have been forced to bear primary culpability for the Holocaust.<ref name = "MA 60 Minutes" />

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 call Israel a "threat" and said it was created to create tensions in and impose US and UK policies upon the region.<ref>[5]</ref>

[edit] Holocaust denial and allegations of anti-Semitism

Main article:Controversies surrounding Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
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. He said, if the holocaust happened, "why don't you give a piece of Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to Israel," and, "why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?" <ref>CNN, Iranian leader: Holocaust a 'myth' Article accessed 2006-5-30</ref>

In response, a variety of sources have accused Ahmadinejad of anti-Semitism including the U.S. Senate. <ref>Condemning Anti-Semitic Statements of the President of Iran</ref> Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has recently insisted that he is not an anti-Semite, 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." <ref>BBC News, Iranian leader 'not anti-Semite'</ref>

[edit] See also

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

[edit] Quotes by President Ahmadinejad

[edit] References


[edit] External links

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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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