In a recent article for the Atlantic, Middle East expert Reza Aslan writes that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may not be the hard-line president outside observers actually thinks he is. Based on unverified WikiLeaks documents and remarks by the president himself, the author concludes that Ahmadinejad is, in fact, in favor of greater social and political freedoms and the “Persianization” of Iranian society, but is isolated among others in Iran’s current ruling establishment:
[Ahmadinejad]… is actually a reformer whose attempts to liberalize, secularize, and even “Persianize” Iran have been repeatedly stymied by the country’s more conservative factions… But if you oppose the Mullahs’ rule, yearn for greater social and political freedoms for the Iranian people, and envision an Iran that draws inspiration from the glories of its Persian past, then, believe it or not, you have more in common with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than you might have thought.”
Here is why Aslan’s characterization of Ahmadinejad is flawed:
Ahmadinejad is the kind of man who should not be judged by his words, but by his actions. As somebody who has met him on several occasions, once when he was Tehran’s mayor and twice when I was reporting on his trips to the UN in New York over the past few years, I can say I’ve never seen a more insincere, manipulative and deceptive personality in my entire life.
One doesn’t need WikiLeaks to know what Ahmadinejad has sai…