Check out this interesting piece by our friend Paul Dylan! Link
You were intrigued after his recent US tour, Columbia University address, Daily Show appearance and Saturday Night Live Digital Short and now you find yourself wondering about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Who is he, really?
Here Are 10 Surprising Facts About The President Of Iran:
He is Not The Leader of Iran
In Iran, the elected President is not the head of State. That honor goes to the Supreme Leader (currently Ali Khamenei), who is elected by the so-called “Assembly of Experts”. The office of President was merely a figurehead role until 1989, when the office merged with that of Prime Minister. Today the President does have significant governmental influence, but only the Supreme Leader controls the Armed Forces, declares war (or peace), or pardons convicts.
Oliver Stone is Planning a Biopic – and Ahmadinejad Himself Has Authorized It
No word yet on who will play the President, but hopefully Fred Armisen is considered
He is Very, Very Smart
Ahmadinejad has a PhD in transportation engineering. On his entrance exams to the Iranian University system, he placed 132nd out of over 400,000 applicants. There has been no official record released of how he scored on History questions relating to the Holocaust.
He May Have Been Involved in the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979
Shortly after his election in 2005, former hostages came forward and told members of the press that they remembered Ahmadinejad as one of their interrogators. The CIA insists that this claim is false.
He Has a Blog: Ahmadinejad.ir
It has only been updated once in 2007, but it does accept comments (which don’t appear to be moderated). Click the link in the blog’s the upper right-hand corner to translate to English.
He’s an Activist for Women’s Rights
At least when it comes to the right to watch soccer matches… Earlier this year, Ahmadinejad issued a Presidential proclamation that would allow women into sports stadiums for the first time since the Islamic revolution of 1979. The decision was quickly revoked, however, by Ahmadinejad’s boss, the Supreme Leader.
He Sleeps on the Floor, Brings His Lunch to Work and Forgoes His Presidential Salary
He also still lives in the same small apartment he lived in before his election. This son of a blacksmith works hard to cultivate an image of humility and piety. In an interview on Fox News, he said that each morning in the mirror he says the following: “Remember, you are no more than a small servant, ahead of you today is the heavy responsibility, and that is to serve the Iranian nation.”
He Was a Paramilitary Commando
He was a member of the elite Special Brigade of the Revolutionary Guard during the Iran-Iraq war, 1980-1984. There is evidence that he may have been involved in political assassination attempts on the Ayatollah’s enemies.
He’s Not Particularly Popular in Iran
He is often criticized for focusing too much attention on disputes with the west and not enough time dealing with Iran’s fumbling economy. He’s unpopular with the religious right for being too lenient with regard to women. Even members of the Iranian parliament have accused Ahmadinejad of fueling religious wars with comments he’s made against Christianity and Judaism. During a December 2006 speech, students at a university in Tehran protested by setting fire to his photograph, throwing hand-made bombs at him and shouting “Death to the Dictator.”
He Drives a 1977 Peugeot
A Peugeot? You would think the President of Iran would be driving something more along the lines of a BMW, or something…