Abdol-Reza Davari, a journalist and former insider to Ahmadinejad’s administration, has turned on Ahmadinejad in recent years and today gave an outline of some of the former President’s behaviour which he deemed detrimental to the country. In an interview, he stated that the environment in Ahmadinejad’s inner circle was cult like, with no criticism allowed of the President, and that Ahmadinejad believed that the Islamic Republic would soon collapse, and he would be the Yeltsin of Iran. Davari also commented on Ahmadinejad’s “Mahdism”, where he sought to create the impression that he had a special relationship with the Mahdi as a strategy to undermine the religious authority of the Supreme Leader and the ideology of velayat-e faqih.
On the occasion of the celebration in Iran of the birthday of Imam Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam of Shi’a Islam, senior cleric Hojatoleslam Ali-Reza Panahian stated that voting in this year’s election could usher in the coming of the Imam by creating a more just world. Twelver Shi’a Muslims believe that Imam Mahdi exists on earth in a state of occultation, and will become visible to people once again at the end of time. Panahian comments have been labelled “odd” by the Iranian media, but they were in keeping with the theme of encouraging participation in the election, a central point in the Supreme Leader’s Nowruz address.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a speech at a religious gathering to commemorate the birth of the Twelfth Imam in Narmak Square, close to his home. In a speech that resembled a rally, Ahmadinejad contrasted the Twelfth Imam’s infallibility and justice with the economic and political inequalities of the present time.