The Guardian: He has provoked the west’s fury with his calls for Israel’s elimination, dismissal of the Holocaust as a “myth” and strident advocacy of Iran’s nuclear rights. Now Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has ordered his fiery polemics to be saved for posterity in preparation for commercial publication. The Guardian
Robert Tait in Tehran
He has provoked the west’s fury with his calls for Israel’s elimination, dismissal of the Holocaust as a “myth” and strident advocacy of Iran’s nuclear rights.
Now Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has ordered his fiery polemics to be saved for posterity in preparation for commercial publication.
He has appointed a 15-member advisory council of his closest aides to study his “works and opinions” and choose the most important. Selected items are likely to be issued as books, CDs and pamphlets.
Mr Ahmadinejad’s readiness to air his radical views has earned him a reputation as a rousing speaker. Besides infamously calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map”, he also struck a chord among Iran’s poor by pledging to redistribute oil wealth “to people’s tables”.
The president has already shown a desire to communicate his thoughts to a wider audience by launching his own blog in English, French, Farsi and Arabic.
However, the idea of compiling them as a commercial package has drawn a cynical response from critics. Some have pointed out that none of Mr Ahmadinejad’s predecessors published their thoughts and speeches while in office. The move appears to have been prompted by the precedent of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, father of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, whose numerous writings and speeches are published by an institution founded by his son.
However, Rooz Online, an opposition website, suggested Mr Ahmadinejad’s advisers would have a much thinner body of work to choose from.
The only known publication credited to the president – who has a PhD in traffic management – was a treatise about cold asphalt, it said.
The project got off to a false start yesterday when it emerged that two of the advisers selected had declined to participate because they had not been consulted in advance.
Maryam Behrouz – head of the Zeinab Society, a fundamentalist women’s group – said the remaining members could best serve Mr Ahmadinejad by advising him against publication. “Fundamentalists have long urged Mr Ahmadinejad to choose experts and strong advisers so that his actions and comments are better conceived on a more rational and thoughtful basis. We hope this council gives him advice, rather than publishing,” she told Aftab website.
Ali Akbar Javanfekr, the president’s press secretary, said the council’s establishment was “necessary”. “It has been established with Mr Ahmadinejad’s approval and he has a positive view towards it,” he said.