Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Iranian leader launches blog aimed at international audience by Robert Tait in Tehran

Guardian Monday 14 August, 2006

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at a press conference in Shanghai. Photograph: Elizabeth Dalziel/AP
The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photograph: Elizabeth Dalziel/AP

His political approach has become a byword for populism and yesterday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad endowed it with a hi-tech dimension by launching his own weblog.The hardline Iranian leader’s debut on the international blogosphere came in the form of a 2,300-word tract that asked readers to decide if the US and Israel were trying to start a new world war. Mr Ahmadinejad, who has identified himself with Iran’s army of poor people, also described his humble origins in an impoverished rural village. His entry into the mass ranks of bloggers marks the latest step in a concerted effort to communicate directly with ordinary Iranians over the heads of the elites. Mr Ahmadinejad’s first year in office has been distinguished by a series of old-fashioned mass rallies throughout Iran aimed at wooing mass public support.

His resort to more up-to-date means appears on the presidential website at His first missive is available in English, French and Arabic – as well as Farsi – suggesting he is also aiming at an international audience.

It includes one of Mr Ahmadinejad’s bluntest statements yet on the conflict between Israel and the Iranian-backed militant group, Hizbullah, in Lebanon. “Do you think that the US and Israeli intention and goal by attacking Lebanon is pulling the trigger for another world war?” He invites readers to vote yes or no.

In an autobiographical passage, the president attempts to explain the personal circumstances behind his radical Islamist political beliefs, including his fervent desire for Iran to pursue nuclear technology in defiance of western opposition.

“During the era that nobility was a prestige and living in a city was perfection, I was born in a poor family in a remote village,” he writes, labelling himself the son of “a hard-bitten toiler blacksmith”.

He ascribes his rapid rise to academic excellence which enabled him to finish 132nd out of 400,000 in university entrance exams.

He also describes reading newspapers with the help of adults while in first grade at school, from which he learned how Americans in Iran had been granted immunity from the country’s laws by the shah. “I realised that Mohammad Reza [had] attempted to add another page to the vicious case history, which was the humiliation and indignity of the Iranian people versus Americans.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"