Iran clerics rebuke Ahmadinejad over 'hidden imam'
AFP / Siavosh Ghazi
07-May-2008

Iranian clerics have told President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stick to
more worldly issues after he said the "hidden imam" of Shiite Islam was directing the country's affairs.

Ahmadinejad has always been a devotee of the Mahdi, the twelfth imam of Shiite Islam, who Shiites believe disappeared more than a thousand years ago and who will return one day to usher in a new era of peace and harmony.

But in a speech to theology students broadcast by state television on
Monday, Ahmadinejad went further than ever before in emphasising his
belief that the Mahdi is playing a critical role in Iran's day-to-day
politics.

"The Imam Mahdi is in charge of the world and we see his hand directing
all the affairs of the country," he said in the speech, which appears
to date from last month but has only now been broadcast.

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