Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad was born in 1956, in Garmsar, southeast of Tehran. He is the fourth son of an ironworker, and has six siblings. The Ahmadinejad family moved to Tehran when Mahmoud was one year old.

It was June 24th, 2005 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad swept and won the election for President of Iran with an awesome 17,046,441 votes out of a possible 27,536,069. His running rival and Expediency Council Chairman Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani won only 9,841,346 in a surprising defeat. When Ahmadinejad took office in August of 2005, he was Iran’s first non-cleric president in 24 years.

You would be hard-pressed to find any two political men in Iran more opposite than Ahmadinejad and Rafsanjani. Ahmadinejad seized the presidency from apparent political obscurity. Rafsanjani was a prominent national figure, a political veteran, moderately progressive (as some call him), and 70 years old. Ahmadinejad was 39 at the time of the election, a former Revolutionary Guard, novice on the national precipice, and a conservative-at-core despised (feared?) by much of the Iran reformist movement. It could be said that Ahmadinejad did not become a prominent, nationally-visible figure until he became the mayor of Tehran.

The fact that Ahmadinejad consistently out-polls more experienced and long-standing political figures in Iran continues to baffle many. Some place it on his apparent personal charisma, others accuse him of fixing the polls, or of engaging in dishonorable activity to increase his ratings.

In 1975, he got his diploma and entered into the University of Science and Technology, interested in civil engineering, soon after ranking 130 in a nationwide entry exam. In 1979, after the Islamic revolution, he became a member of the extremely conservative faction, OSU – Office for Strengthening Unity Between Universities and Theological Seminaries. When it was proposed within the OSU that they should storm the American embassy in Tehran, Ahmadinejad recommended storming the Soviet embassy at the same time.

Ahmadinejad joined the special forces of the Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps in 1986, following the start of the Iraq War in 1980. Ahmadinejad become a high-ranking commander of the IRGC, directing political assassinations in the middle east and Europe, including the assassination of Iranian-Kurdish leader Abdorrahman Qassemlou. He is also alleged to have been involved in the attempt on Salman Rushdie’s life.

Also in the the 1980s, he served as governor of Mau and Khoy, cities in northwestern West Azarbaijan province, for four years, and as an advisor to the governor-general of the western province of Kurdestan for two years. He held other political and socially important posts, including serving the cultural advisor to the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education, and being appointed governor-general of newly founded province of Ardebil.

He was accepted as a MS student, also to the University of Science and Technology, in 1986, and received his doctorate in engineering and traffic transportation planning in 1987.

Ahmadinejad returned to Elm-o Sanaat University in 1997 to teach, and soon after joined the board of the Civil Engineering College of University of Science and Technology. From 1997 on, he worked on and off with violent Islamic group Ansar-i Hizbullah – “Followers of the Party of God”.

Ahmadinejad has displayed hostile tendencies towards Israel, regarding it as a worthless stain on the Islamic world. He has said before that he intends to “wipe Israel off the map”. He denied, or, at least, said that he doubted, whether or not the Holocaust actually occured.

With Iran trying to join the world’s nuclear club, sending millions of dollars to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and tensions between Iran and the United States elevating gradually, Iran could well be the US’s next target in its War on Terrorism.

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