Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

  • Ahmadinejad Tried Making a Comeback—Until Iran’s Judiciary Stepped In

    As is the norm for most authoritarian regimes, fortunes rise and fall quickly for men of power in Iran. But the former chief of staff and vice president of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had it coming for a long time.

    As the closest confidante of the former president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei has long been despised by much of the Iranian ruling elite for leading a supposed “deviant current,” and advocating a strange mix of ascetic mysticism, Iranian nationalism, Shia millenarianism, and anti-establishment sentiment.

    After years of controversy, Mashaei was finally arrested last March. He was charged with “collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the regime,” and “insulting...

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  • Why on Earth Is Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tweeting?

    “Freedom has no limits; ideas and thoughts should never ever be limited … Any type of restrictions on ideas and beliefs especially on Social Media will lead to chaos and dictatorship.”

    Probably the last person a Jeffersonian-style tweet would be connected to is former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Irony seems to be lost on Ahmadinejad, given that social media—Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube—were banned under his presidency after the 2009 post-election protests known as the Green Movement. For almost a decade now, Iranian internet users have had to rely on circumvention tools to bypass censorship, while the former hardline president tweets like it’s his day job—which is more and more becoming the case.

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  • How Recent Protests Could Revive Ahmadinejad’s Fortunes in Iran

    Until recently, few observers inside or outside Iran gave much weight to the notion of a comeback for discredited former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    The disqualification of Ahmadinejad and his former top aide, Esfandiyar Rahim Mashaei, for the presidency in 2017, followed by the arrests of Mashaei and former vice president Hamid Baghaei on charges of corruption and misuse of public funds, seemed to signal the complete defeat of Ahmadinejad’s  “deviant current” (Jaryan-e enhefari), the label that conservative factions had given to his group.

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