The whole Mahdi thing doesn’t seem to have worked out for him, but Ahmadinejad is back and giving speeches. And he appears to have the support of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, arguably the true government in Iran.
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emerged from hiding on Wednesday to deliver a rare public speech in which he told Iranians, “We can rest the day that we raise the flag of martyrs over the White House,” according to an independent translation of Persian language media reports.
Ahmadinejad, most notorious for his Holocaust denial and militaristic rhetoric, visited war zones in southern Iran just a week after Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei made a similar visit to the region.
The comments were initially reported by Iran’s Basij News Agency, an official state organ controlled by the country’s powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Ahmadinejad’s reappearance on the public stage comes as Iran continues to negotiate with Western powers over its contested nuclear weapons program. The former president’s violent rhetoric is being viewed as a sign that Iranian hardliners are making a political comeback in Tehran.
“This was Ahmadinejad’s first political comment after a long silence, more importantly it is reported by a news agency controlled by [Iran’s] powerful Basij forces, the Iranian version of SS forces,” Saeed Ghasseminejad, cofounder of Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates, told the Washington Free Beacon.
“Ahmadinejad also got the chance to sit close to Khamenei, as Khamenei’s website and IRGC-run Fars News reported,” Ghasseminejad said.
This may be seen as “a significant sign in Iran’s politics showing that Ahmadinejad’s relation with Khamenei is improving,” he said. “It seems that Khamenei and powerful forces in his office have decided not to keep Ahmadinejad totally out of the loop.”
Despite his delusions, Ahmadinejad can be useful. Khamenei can play ‘good Jihadist’ and ‘bad Jihadist’ using Rouhani and Ahmadinejad, punishing and rewarding the West by elevating or diminishing the so-called hardliners.