Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Information Pariah

He told Larry King on CNN, “In Iran, nobody is in prison because of participating in protests. Nobody went to prison because of participating in protests. Protests are free.”

He told a group of journalists over breakfast that no one had better try to stop him from building the nuclear bomb he’s not building: “The U.S. has never entered a real war, not in Vietnam, nor in Afghanistan, nor even World War II.” He flatly denied to Christiane Amanpour on ABC the well-documented sentencing of Iranian woman Sakineh Ashtiani to death by stoning for adultery.

Ahmadinejad relishes his role as provocateur. This plays well with the ayatollahs who helped him steal the election in June 2009. But in an era when we expect transparency from political leaders, we seem unsure how to handle one who simply lies about his abuses at home and intentions abroad.

A leader who mocks all questions is thumbing his nose at core beliefs of our era, including that information wants to flow freely and that no one is above this law of increasing openness. What to do with an information pariah?

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