Is the Cyrus Cylinder becoming part of Ahmadinejad’s quest for legitimacy?

LONDON, (CAIS) — Hoping to regain a measure of legitimacy in the wake of the disputed presidential election in 2009, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be trying to recast himself as a nationalist leading a struggle against foreign foes.

We have already noted this trend in previous columns as, slowly but surely, the president abandoned the standard Islamist discourse in favour of a nationalist one.

Now, there are fresh signs to confirm the trend.

On Tuesday, Ahmadinejad made a trip to Semnan, the native province of his parents, to inaugurate some real or imaginary projects. At a gathering of his supporters, he made an hour-long speech in which, according to the text published by the official news agency IRNA, the word Islam was not mentioned once.

Ahmadinejad spoke of “the land of the pure” one of the names that ancient Aryans gave to Iran as they settled in it. Instead of using the word “ummah” which denotes the Muslim community and is favoured by the mullahs, the president used the word “mellat” which means “nation” in Persian. 


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