Thursday, May 08, 2008

  • Thursday, May 08, 2008
  • Elder of Ziyon
From WaPo:
Several leading Iranian clerics criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday for saying that the last imam of Shiite Islam, a messianic figure who Shiites believe was hidden by God 1,140 years ago, leads modern-day Iran.

"We see his hand directing all the affairs of the country," Ahmadinejad told theological students in the city of Mashad during a speech that appears to have been given last month but was not broadcast until Tuesday. "A movement has started for us to occupy ourselves with our global responsibilities. God willing, Iran will be the axis of the leadership of this movement," Ahmadinejad said.

Several clerics in the Iranian parliament accused Ahmadinejad of implying that Imam Mahdi or Imam Zaman (Imam of the Age), as the Shiite messiah is also called, supports his government. Since the 1979 revolution, Iran's government has been overseen by Shiite clerics, but religious leaders here have resisted Ahmadinejad's frequent hints that his government's actions are guided by the Mahdi.

Clerics said in interviews published Wednesday that the president should not use the imam to his political advantage or to silence critics of the government.

"If, God forbid, Ahmadinejad means that Imam Zaman supports the government's actions, this is wrong. Certainly Imam Zaman would not accept 20 percent inflation rates, nor would he support it or many other mistakes that exist in the country today," wrote Gholam-reza Mesbahi Moghadam, a cleric belonging to a powerful faction close to Iranian businessmen and established religious figures. His comments appeared in Ettemaad-e Melli, a Tehran newspaper owned by a cleric who is critical of Ahmadinejad.

Official inflation is more than 20 percent in Iran, according to economists, because of poor government planning and uncontrolled spending of billions of dollars in oil money. The administration says it needs more time to reduce inflation.

The clerics also feared that the president's remarks in Mashad could make it harder to criticize the government. "These kinds of statements might create an image of a holy relation between persons and religion, which will close the path for critics," Mahmoud Madani Bajestani, another cleric and politician told Ettemaad-e Melli.

Since Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, he has made the "hastening of the coming of Imam Mahdi" an important political theme and used it, for example, to justify slashing interest rates in an effort to help poor Iranians. According to several politicians and economists, his policies have led to disorganization in the administrative system.
As Wikipedia explains:
Shi'as believe that al-Mahdi will reappear when the world has fallen into chaos and civil war emerges between the human race for no reason. At this time, it is believed, half of the true believers will ride from Yemen carrying white flags to Mecca, while the other half will ride from Karbala, in Iraq, carrying black flags to Mecca. At this time, al-Mahdi will come wielding God's Sword, the Blade of Evil's Bane, Zulfiqar (Arabic: ذو الفقار, ðū l-fiqār), the Double-Bladed Sword.
Ahmadinejad's messianic Mahdi mania is exactly the reason why Israel needs to be worried about Iranian nukes, as a "mutually assured destruction" scenario doesn't fly with people who want to hasten the end of the world and the ushering in of a messiah. And who can discount him regarding himself as the Mahdi and the atom bomb as "Zulfiqar"?

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