May 15 2013
photo courtesy of Presidential Press and Information Office/ www.kremlin.ru
This commentary appeared on U.S. News & World Report on May 14, 2013.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is hardly a poster boy for reform in Iran. He has depicted himself as an original revolutionary and ideological purist. He has questioned the Holocaust and is virulently anti-Israeli in his rhetoric. His re-election as president in 2009 set off the largest popular demonstration since the 1979 revolution. And his presidency has produced an era of economic stagnation, international isolation and deep anxiety for the Iranian people.
Yet Ahmadinejad today intends to remain a pivotal political player in Iran and a persistent threat to the power of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Unable to run in the upcoming June 2013 presidential election, Ahmadinejad is grooming Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, his in-law and chief ally, to continue his political legacy.