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Monday, January 30, 2012


Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  born 28 October 1956 is the sixth and current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the main political leader of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, a coalition of conservative political groups in the country. An engineer and teacher from a poor background, Ahmadinejad joined the Office for Strengthening Unity after the Islamic Revolution. Appointed a provincial governor, he was removed after the election of President Mohammad Khatami and returned to teaching.] Tehran's council elected him mayor in 2003. He took a religious hard line, reversing reforms of previous moderate mayors. His 2005 presidential campaign, supported by the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, garnered 62% of the runoff election votes, and he became President on 3 August 2005. His second presidency term ends on August 3, 2013. He is not eligible to run for another term under the current Iranian constitution.
Ahmadinejad is a controversial figure both within Iran and internationally. He has been criticized domestically for his economic lapses and disregard for human rights. He launched a gas rationing plan in 2007 to reduce the country's fuel consumption, and cut the interest rates that private and public banking facilities could charge. He supports Iran's nuclear energy program. His election to a second term in 2009 was widely disputed. and caused widespread protests domestically and drew significant international criticism. In 2011 the presence of a so-called "deviant current" among his aides and supporters led to the arrest of several of them.

Early Life

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was born Mahmoud Saborjhian on October 28, 1956, in the village of Aradan, near Garmsar, in north-central Iran, 82 miles southeast of Tehran. Mahmoud was the fourth of seven children whose father was a blacksmith. In 1957, the family moved from Aradan to the Narmak district of Tehran in search of better economic conditions. During this time, his father, Ahmad, changed the family name from Saborjhian (which translates to "thread painter," the lowliest job in Iran's traditional carpet-weaving industry), to the more religious Ahmadinejad ("race of Muhammad" or "virtuous race").

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad grew up in an Iran dominated by Western influence. Three years before he was born, the U.S. CIA aided in a coup to install the pro-Western Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi as head of state. Many Iranians, led by the country's Islamic clerics, resented the Western incursion into Iran's politics. Ahmadinejad held no interest in politics as a young boy. He went to primary and high school in Tehran, and excelled in his studies. He received high marks on the national university entrance exams, finishing 130th out of 400,000 students. He entered Iran University of Science and Technology in 1975 and received his undergraduate degree in civil engineering in 1979.

Political Activism

It wasn't until he attended Iran University that Ahmadinejad became politically active. Though the Shah's regime repressed all political activism and descent, Ahmadinejad secretly produced and distributed an anti-Shah propaganda magazine called Jiq va Dad (Scream and Shout). He joined the Islamic Association of Students in the Science and Technology University, a faction of the Office for Strengthening Unity between Universities and Theological Seminaries. The latter organization allegedly planned the taking of hostages from the U.S. Embassy during the 1979 revolution against the Shah. It is unclear whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad participated in the takeover of the embassy. Some of the former hostages have identified him as one of the student leaders involved in holding 52 embassy employees for 444 days between 1979 and 1981. Ahmadinejad denies this, as do several of his political opponents who were involved in the embassy take over.

When Saddam Hussein ordered Iraqi military to invade Iran in 1980, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad volunteered to fight against the Iraqis in western Iran, the home of the Kurdish ethnic minority. Reports are mixed as to whether he became a member of the Revolutionary Guard in 1986. Some say he was, others say he wasn't, but it is believed he was a volunteer for a paramilitary volunteer militia called the Basij that operated in cooperation with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. It is also believed that he participated in covert operations near the city of Kirkuk, and worked to not only the stop the Iraqi incursion, but to also suppress any political efforts by the Kurds to form their own state.

The 2009 Presidential Election

All these issues—the sagging economy as well as the political crackdowns—came to a head during the June 2009 presidential elections. Iran's crippling inflation rate, high unemployment, and the question of how its oil revenue was being spent were at the top of Iranian voters' minds. Three candidates surfaced to challenge Ahmadinejad: Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a pro-reform candidate, Mohsen Rezaee, a conservative, and Mehdi Karroubi, a career politician and reformist cleric. On June 12, 2009, Iranian citizens turned out in record numbers with 85 percent of Iran's 46 million voters casting their ballots. The next morning the Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran's official news service, announced that with two-thirds of the votes counted, Ahmadinejad had won the election. Mir- Hossein Mousavi received 33 percent of the vote and the other two contenders received less than three percent combined. Even though many pre-election polls predicted Ahmadinejad would be the winner, most indicated it would be close. Very soon after the announced results, the European Union, Britain and several Western countries expressed concern over alleged irregularities during the voting. Many election analysts voiced doubts about the authenticity of the results. At the same time, many Islamic countries as well as Russia, China, India, and Brazil congratulated Ahmadinejad on his victory

Mir-Hossein Mousavi was the most vocal of the challengers to contest the election results. He filed an official appeal to the Guardian Council, and urged his supporters to fight the decision in a peaceful manner. Protests broke

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