Monday, December 12, 2005

Ahmadinejad In Touch With the 12th Imam

Hossein Bastani, Rooz Online:
A week after the distribution of a film in Iran in which president Ahmadinejad claimed to have noticed a holy light around himself while delivering his UN General Assembly speech in September 2005, the head of Majlis Khobregan (Assembly of Experts for Leadership) repeated the claim that the faction controlling the government and the Majlis enjoyed divine mystic support.

In his meeting the Minister of Education, ayatollah Ali Meshkini said, “the performance of the government and the Majlis were approved by those who supported the revolution and the country .., when the list of their work was taken to Imam Mahdi (Shiite’s twelvth Imam who is said to be in occultation), especially the list of Majlis (Parliament) representatives – which I think he signed (See ILNA labor news agency, November 29, 2005). READ MORE

Six months earlier on June 26, 2005, Ms Fatemeh Elia another Majlis representative had also made a claim regarding the connection of the Majlis with the twelfth Imam in which she said, “If the Leader’s heart is pleased with us, the twelfth Imam too will be happy, and if the current Majlis be good, the Imam will visit it.” [Abbasali Alizadeh, the former head of the judiciary too had claimed three years ago that the twelfth Imam had physically visited a meeting of the judiciary, and in his words, “in one of our meetings when we were discussing our efforts to combat social evils, we were discussing a case that was disturbing to all of us. At the meeting, some of the participants said that they saw the twelfth Imam at the session. We work through such strong believes that we actually see the Imam in our meetings.”]

But despite these sightings, it is the president himself who presents the strongest claims of being in touch and thus supported by the twelfth Imam of the Shiites who is said to be in occultation. For example, At a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Islamic countries and in response to a question that Iran displayed signs of a crisis, president Ahmadinejad said that these were the signs of the return of the twelfth Imam, who will definitely return in two years [see Aftab of November 16, 2005]. These words were said at a time when the ultra-religious and conservative journal Khorshid published a handwritten text which it attributed to the twelfth Imam.

In his cabinet sessions too Ahmadinejad has claimed that, “We have to turn Iran into a modern, and divine country to be the model for all nations, and which will also serve as the basis for the return of the twelfth Imam” [see Fars of November 11, 2005].

At about the same time, Parto-e Sokhan, another religious and ultra-conservative publication belonging to Meshbah Yazdi, who has unconditionally supported Ahmadinejad, wrote that raising the name of the missing twelfth Imam at the UN General Assembly by the president while he was delivering his address was one of the feats of president Ahmadinejad [November 9, 2005]. In this regard, Ali Davani, a member of the vigilante groupAnsar-e Hezbollah” has even claimed that Ahmadinejad’s address at the UN General Assembly in September was a definitive sign indicating the imminent return of the twelfth Imam [see Rooydad of September 25, 2005].

Some of the supporters of conservative-religious thoughts in Iran have even gone further and called for a new revolution to help the return of the Imam in occultation. “Recently one of the mosques in Tehran had distributed a leaflet in Jamkaran calling for another revolution to prepare the foundations for the return of the twelfth Imam. The leaflet claims that while the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that overthrew the monarchy in Iran was a step towards the return of the missing Imam, that event has been derailed and so there is a need for another revolution, [see Shargh Online October 16, 2005].

Such claims have increased with the wider presence of the government in the Jamkaran district of Tehran. This presence has taken the form of extended credits for the creation of a welfare center adjacent to the Jamkaran mosque, as approved by the cabinet. At that particular cabinet session, the Minister of Transportation had proposed that the budget under discussion should have been used for road construction projects that would enhance the physical security of travelers in Qom province, which was turned down by the president in favor of the Jamkaran project [see Rooydad of September 13, 2005]. It is noteworthy that some high clergy in Qom expressed their displeasure about the claims that were being made regading the return or imminent return of the twelfth Imam around the Jamkaran mosque in Tehran [see Rooydad of September 13, 2005].

Ahmadinejad has a record of spending public funds on similar projects. “The publication of a map which attributed the travel path of the twelfth Imam has brought a negative response from political and religious figures. This publication of this map was carried out through costly public funds at Tehran’s Municipality. The maps were subsequently recollected from distribution after strong opposition from senior officials [see Hataf of May 6, 2005].

Hossein Bastani is a veteran journalist living in exile.