The victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Iranian presidential "elections" in June caused consternation amongst Iran watchers. An unashamed religious conservative, he represents a hardline antidote to reform and a blatant return to the (there is no other word for it) fascism favoured by the aged Islamic clerics who, in reality, hold all the true political power in the country.
Frightening enough in itself, given Iran's notorious belligerence. Scarier still, given their ambitions to become a nuclear power, were the comments Ahmadinejad made yesterday at a conference in Tehran called "The World Without Zionism":
"There is no doubt that the new wave in Palestine will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot from the face of the Islamic world... As the Imam (Khomeini) said, Israel must be wiped off the map."
"Anybody who recognises Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury. Anybody who recognizes the Zionist regime is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world."
Yadda, yadda, yadda. At least we know where he stands.
Not a very smart move whichever way you look at it. Ahmadinejad cannot be ignorant of the fact that there are many neo-con hawks in Washington waiting for justification to launch a military offensive against his country, and here he is handing it to them on a plate. He may think that Iran has an "inalienable right" to pursue nuclear power (for peaceful means, of course. . . we're obviously not meant to draw a correlation between the desire to be nuclear and the desire to destroy Israel. Hmmm.) but there won't now be a government in the world prepared to defend such a course of action. Not openly anyway, and not outside of the Middle East.
Clearly he knows how to whip up hatred in his homeland, but knows next to nothing about garnering international favour. Then again, reading some of the nonsense on this comment board, maybe he won't meet much resistance after all:
"Iran has every right to develop its nuclear power and even its nuclear weapons if they wish, considering the pre-emptive aggressive nature of other nations in the world."
Phil, Dublin, Ireland
Okaaaay. But how many of them publicly endorse the annihilation of an entire state and race in advance? Are you saying we should sit back and wait on this one? Twat.
"America and Britain have provoked more wars than Iran and are trusted with nuclear power. The Iranian people gained the right to determine their own future in 1979 and America has no right to take it from them again."
Chris Potter, Melbourne, Australia
See above. Also, we are nuclear powers that adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. A crucial difference, wouldn't you say? India and Pakistan managed to get through, but that doesn't mean we should relax and let Iran in the nuclear club as well. (Even worse, there's also North Korea to contend with.) And as for the "right to determine their own future", well. . . firstly, there are serious question marks over the legitimacy of the Iranian elections that were held in June, so who is determining what exactly? Secondly, following your "argument" to its conclusion, you must also think it acceptable for Iran to determine the future of Israel, the Middle East and the rest of the world too. Fuckwit.