“‘God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism.’-Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, October 26, 2005″ (p. 25).
Alireza, former media director for the Washington, D.C., office of the Iranian parliament in exile, brings together published reports and his own inside “sources” to paint a scary picture of Iranian leadership and its intentions. He sees the surprise come-from-behind victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential elections as a carefully orchestrated action by Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei to make “the presidency a zealous and aggressive mouthpiece for his radical Islamic agenda” (p. 28). (The 2007 book of course doesn’t cover this year’s disputed Iranian election.)
Much has been written about the “aura” Ahmadinejad said he felt surrounded him during his address to the United Nations in 2005. “I felt the atmosphere suddenly change and for those 27 or 28 minutes the leaders of the world did not blink… It seemed as if a hand was holding them there and had opened their eyes to receive the message from the Islamic republic.”
The author sees Ahmadinejad’s spirituality as “convoluted and hypocritical,” and his escalation of speeches about “Iran’s duty to prepare for the ‘return of the Mahdi’” as “grasping at straws to survive” (p. 30). He says the Iranian economy “is in shambles” and that the Iranian leadership “has never been more vulnerable,” but that doesn’t make the apocalyptic rhetoric less frightening (p. 235).
“This is Ahmadinejad’s manipulation of the concept that the Mahdi will return in a time of great turmoil; the rallying cry of ‘nuclear rights’ is Ahmadinejad’s justification for creating an atmosphere of global turmoil to signify that the Mahdi will come soon…” (p. 31).
sees Iran as “ground zero for international terrorism” and the source of much of the unrest in Iraq. “In addition to sending Iranian operatives to enter Iraq posing as religious pilgrims, the Iranian regime has recruited an enormous network of agents within Iraq itself,” he writes of Iran’s intelligence network. “In July 2006 my sources in Iran uncovered facts about Iran’s training and support of Iraqi militias” (pp. 61, 105, 108).
The author discusses the various approaches being used to address Iran’s. The diplomatic option has not worked, and is even counterproductive in his view.
But he does not endorse the military option “because I believe that the Iranianshould have an Iranian solution, conceived of and implemented by Iranian patriots with the support of the international community.”
He also believes Iran’s nuclear facilities would be very hard to hit with precision air strikes, if the West is even aware of the location of all of them. “Second, a military attack on Iran would change its image from that of antagonist…to that of a victim of western aggression.” He also points out that Tehran would “reach out to its support base among terrorist states and Islamist terrorist groups throughout the Middle East” (p. 218)
Alireza’s reliance on underground “sources” (he hadn’t been back to Tehran since the summer of 1979) and his agenda for regime change in Iran cloud some of the conclusions of the book. However, this book gives some background to a major crisis in today’s world.