Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ahmadinejad: I'll be No VIP Jetsetter

Khaleej Times Online:
Iran’s hardline and austere President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has shunned a VIP jet plane bought by his predecessor, telling his transport minister to either sell the aircraft or let ordinary passengers use it. The Airbus, which reportedly cost 39 million dollars plus an extra 20 million dollars in fittings, was ordered in 2003 by the former reformist government of Mohammad Khatami and delivered to Iran last month.

But according to government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham, “a six-hour flight is not so hard to require such luxuries.”

Ahmadinejad has ordered the transport minister to sell the plane or plan to use it for public commercial purposes,” he was quoted as saying Saturday in Iranian dailies. READ MORE

Ahmadinejad’s shock presidential election win on June 24 was thanks in part to his image as an unpretentious and God-fearing man who would take from the rich and give to the poor.

Unlike previous presidents, Ahmadinejad has also refused to use opulent former royal palaces in leafy northern Tehran and receives dignitaries in the old offices in the smog ridden downtown of the city.