Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the former mayor of Tehran. He came to power on a campaign based on stamping out corruption in 2005, and pursued an agenda defined by support of Islamic fundamentalism, strong anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism. Under Ahmadinejad's rule Iran put a large amount of effort into producing nuclear technology, possibly for nuclear weapons, although Iran has not yet been successful in this endeavor. He had a strong opposition to homosexuality, infamously stating that "there are no homosexuals in Iran". He has also eliminated some rights such as freedom of speech and the press.
Photographs appear to implicate Ahmadinejad in the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis as someone involved with the hostage taking. Five former American hostages have stated that Ahmadinejad was one of their captors. A former US intelligence officer, said "I recognized him right off. … I remember so much his hatred of Americans. It just emanated from every pore of his body." BBC correspondent John Simpson recalled seeing Ahmadinejad on the embassy grounds. Abholhassan Bani-Sadr, a former president of Iran long living in exile, asserted that Ahmadinejad "wasn't among the decision-makers but he was among those inside the Embassy." However, some former hostages dispute this claim. Additionally, a number of terrorists who were actually involved in the hostage taking have denied Ahmedinejad's involvement. A CIA report was commissioned to determine whether or not Ahmedinejad was involved in the hostage taking, and that report determined that the evidence was at best inconclusive.
Ahmadinajed's foreign policies were criticized by many within his country and government, who thought he was too extreme and would cause their country to be attacked by the United States.
Ahmadinejad is an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier, making intentionally inflammatory and provocative statements such as calling it a "myth" and a "holy lie," and hosting a conference for holocaust deniers from around the world in Tehran. Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often compared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler.
Ahmadinajed was term-limited out of office in 2013; Hassan Rouhani was elected as his successor.
- Pipes, Daniel Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the 1979-1981 U.S. Embassy Takeover (2006) Capitalism Magazine Accessed 7 February 2008
- Lappin, Yaakov Bibi: Iran president more dangerous than Hitler YNetNews. Accessed 7 February 2008
- Hirschberg, Peter Netanyahu: It's 1938 and Iran is Germany; Ahmadinejad is preparing another Holocaust Haaretz. Accessed 7 February 2008