The Guardian: Dog is supposed to be man’s best friend but it may not be the right mode of protection if you are a pious leader of an Islamic state with a reputation for forgoing luxuries.
Robert Tait in Tehran
Dog is supposed to be man’s best friend but it may not be the right mode of protection if you are a pious leader of an Islamic state with a reputation for forgoing luxuries.
So perhaps, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, should have known better than to allow his security team to deploy four highly trained sniffer dogs in a search for explosives before his appearance at the national press exhibition.
It hardly helped that journalists attending the event at Tehran’s youth artistic and cultural centre were ordered outside for more than two hours to enable the animals to scour the venue unhindered, before it was declared safe for the president.
The incident has put Ahmadinejad in the dog house with his critics, who point out the contradiction between the canine deployment and classic Islamic teaching that dogs are unclean. Grumbles have also been heard about the cost of the animals, which were bought for a total of £314,000.
Some complained that the dogs contradicted the president’s carefully crafted “simple-life, justice-seeking, anti-luxury” image, the conservative website Tabnak reported.
A contrast has also been drawn between Ahmadinejad’s decision, on taking office, to remove costly Persian rugs from his presidential quarters, in keeping with his ascetic persona.
Iran quietly broke its religious taboo on dogs several years ago when officials decided to use them at airports and border crossings for detecting drug traffickers. However, their deployment in the protection of the head of state may be unprecedented, at least since the 1979 Islamic revolution.