The president of under 18 years old poeple
Just eight years ago, the president of Iran Mohammad Khatami, talked about “dialogue among civilizations,” echoing the name the UN put on the year 2001. Now the new president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talks about wiping Israel off the map. That’s just one sign that Iranian society is complicated. The Western media gives a lot of coverage to burning American flags in the streets of Tehran during Friday prayer ceremonies; no wonder so many foreigners are worried about the future direction of Iran They all have many questions which basically turn on “is Iran turning into a fundamentalist state”?
I’m not sure. The changes in Iran during the last few years show an active and dynamic society which leans more strongly democratic than anything else. The picture shown by the government’s propaganda machine doesn’t reflect the whole society. Many Iranians are surprised by what Ahmadinejad has said and many of them think he’s governing the country like a complete amateur. The new president apparently can’t separate the domestic slogans aimed at a tiny group of his supportrs from the message geared to the international community “He must be the president of the kids under 18. What he says is just for students of that age” says the great Iranian writer Ebrahim Nabavi.
Much of what Israel is doing in Palestine is wrong and I think somebody must persuade them to stop. But that’s not what the new president is doing. Instead, he’s destroying all the goodwill that Khatami built up in the international community over the last few years.
What Ahmadinejad said is one of the worst public statements by any Iranian official since the beginning of the revolution and the hostage crisis. It’s less a statement than an order to attack. It could create huge problem for the country.