Scholar says U.S. demonizes Iranian president

09/25/07 Mitch E. Perry
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In the New York Times yesterday, a variety of Iranian officials and political experts said that in demonizing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the West has served him well.

The story reported that Ahmadinejad’s status at home and in the Mideast has been elevated; at the same time, he is increasingly isolated politically in Iran because of his go-it-alone style and ineffective economic policies.

Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and chair of the Peace & Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. He agrees with that analysis.

The Times and other publications have reported that Ahmadinejad’s power stems not from his office necessarily, but from the refusal of his patron, Ayatollah Khamenei and some other hard liners, to transcend Iran’s revolutionary identity, making full relations with the West impossible.

There is a battle within Iran between other hard line Mullahs who want to integrate Iran economically with the west. But they are not driving the agenda.

Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005.

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