Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ahmadinejad by Kasra Naji

This is not a detailed biography with ins and outs of Ahmadi-nejad's entire personal life story up to now, if you want to read a biography of Ahmadi-nejad you may have to wait until something like that is written some time in the future. However, if you want to be updated with a factual account of what is going on in Iran now, how the population are manipulated and who runs the Islamic Republic, reading this book is a must!

It is one of the best explanations I have read in English on what Islamic Republic elections are about and those in the West who are under some illusion that the Islamic Republic is a 'flourishing' democracy or a 'shining beacon' in the region, should study this book well. Kasra Naji explains how the high level meetings determine the election results before hand, even after all the candidates have been filtered through by the Guardian Council.
The mysterious 6 million - and still growing in numbers - unexpired birth certificates of the deceased and how they are used to manipulate the outcome in important elections, the instructions to the baseej militia on which candidate is the favourite and what they should do to ensure the favourite wins. How all this vote manipulation ensures that a candidate scoring last in the opinion polls with only 2.8 percent of the vote, can suddenly take most of the votes and become the 'most popular president'! How the IRGC commanders and other bodies even at times, unwittingly acknowledge the role of the Baseej and the Revolutionary Guards in the election results! and yet some "Iran experts" suggest we should take democracy go its path and wait for Iranians to vote for a "reformist" president in the next elections :)

Most Iran news followers may by now know about Ahmadi-nejad's dellusions about representing the Shiite Messiah and his messianic mentors, but perhaps it may be unknown to them the role of philosophers like Ahmad Fardid, a disciple of Nazi linked Martin Heidegger, who have also influenced Ahmadi-nejad's thinking.

Naji presents hard facts to the appeasers and those who think negotiating with the hardliners may bring fruits by giving numerous examples of the outcomes of such moves in the past. Like when Madeleine Albright officially apologised on behalf of the US for its role in the 1952 coup, to the very mullahs who took part in the downfall of Mossadegh, and how such apologetic gestures only resulted in her Islamic Republic counterpart wanting to sue the US now that they had admitted to their role :)) or how Islamic vigilantes attacked a bus full of US academics, keen to open a dialogue with the Islamic Republic, with sticks and stones :))

The tragedy of Ahmadi-nejad's mismanagement of Iran's economy and how all the petro-dollar wealth is wasted and misspent by a president who despises economics and economists, is also explained very clearly by Naji. I wish Naji would also have said how this is very much in line with Ayatollah Khomeini's infamous statement that 'economics belongs to the donkeys'.

And for myself who am not a nuclear expert and have not had time to follow the nuclear issue of the Islamic Republic in much detail, Naji's chapter on Iran's Nuclear Quest was very useful too.

Naji after all is not an exiled opposition, he has worked as a journalist in Iran for many years and is also the husband of BBC's former correspondent in Tehran, Frances Harrison, therefore he has been in an excellent position to understand the complexity and contradictions of the Islamic Republic and who runs Iran today beyond what is presented by the cleric's fancy shop windows to the outside world.

I definitely recommend reading the book to all who want to be updated on Iran.

Shortly after I read Kasra Naji's book, I came across a clip of him with Jon Snow in the frontline club. See:

Watch how the pompous ex-Trot, Jon Snow, a son of a clergyman himself and a university drop out and a beneficiary of nepotism in journalism, tries to sound all knowing but gets some very basic news facts wrong. For example he says Ahmadi-nejad was the only non cleric candidate, Naji reminds him that was not the case. At another point, Jon Snow claims the root of the problem is that the US has never accepted the Islamic Revolution as a fact and come to terms with it, then he goes on about the Europeans and the British who in contrast have come to terms with the Islamic revolution and as he rants on, he realises himself that also hasn't got anyone anywhere!

Most ridiculous Snow statement however is his suggestion that the US should carpet bomb Iran with laptops to overthrow the Iranian government! Hmm, what about the slow speed of the internet, the huge cost, the filtering of the sites etc. all mentioned in Naji's book. Watching the clip I wondered at times if Snow had even read Naji's book?!


Anonymous said...

You don't like Jon Snow do you? :))

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I ordered it now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip :-)

For those who particularly dislike Jon Snow, there is a radio interview with Kasra Naji here:

For what it's worth, I saw Snow speak on the 'African Politics' and he was pretty humble. Admitted the limits of his own knowledge straight away. I know he's been to Iran a few times and takes a real interest, so it's odd that he should prove so ill-informed on this.

BTW, has anyone read "Iran and the Rise of its Neo-Conservatives" ( on the same subject?

Winston said...

secret war with Iran is a newly released book by an Israeli author. Good one! Check it out

Anonymous said...

I was in Tehran duringthese elections and there is another very important point which Naji does not mention in his book.
Many Iranians also voted for Ahmadinejad and they said : we vote for Ahmadinejad as he will make such a mess that it will lead to the collapse of the whole regime.

Winston said...

I believe you Ramin

Anonymous said...