Ahmadinejad’s real agenda

As the Libyan people desperately try to change their country around them, many international leaders, most recently President Barack Obama, have condemned the violent actions of Libya’s government.

According to Reuters, Obama was frustrated with the situation yet refused to directly criticize Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi and wouldn’t go as far as saying the U.S. would back sanctions against Libya’s crude oil.

“The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable,” Obama said. “So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters.”

Coming to the support of President Obama and the Libyan people is almost the last person anyone could have expected: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

According to CNN, Ahmadinejad encouraged governments of those nations to stop “creating bloodbaths” and instead join the movement of the revolution.

He went further, saying the troubling governments should “let their people express their opinions.”

Really?

Ahmadinejad shouldn’t say another word. Not only is he ruthless to his own country, but he is also overtly hypocritical when it comes to revolts in Iran.

Remember the 2009 Iranian protests? Suspected of election fraud, Ahmadinejad had Iranian police hastily put down protests that he had kept power illegally.

He won the presidential election in Iran for the first time in 2005. In 2007 Human Rights Watch reported that basic human rights in Iran have significantly regressed since 2006. Ahmadinejad’s regime not only imprisons journalists and shuts down newspapers but also represses freedom of expression. Besides beating defenseless men and women who had unified to recognize International Women’s Day, his administration’s treatment of detainees has significantly worsened.

After identifying Ahmadinejad’s blatant hypocrisy, one begins to wonder why he would even break his silence about the issue. What could possibly be his agenda behind his remarks?

His intention could be to try and re-shape Iran’s international image. This wouldn’t be a bad place to start; the only problem with this theory is that Ahmadinejad has done nothing good worthy of mention.

He has also shown little interest in the hopes and fears of his global acquaintances as Iran continues to be a safe haven for terrorist groups.

He has boldly continued in his quest for nuclear weapons, something that many world leaders have denounced time and time again. It would appear that Ahmadinejad couldn’t care less about what any other country wants, so this theory crumbles.

Maybe Ahmadinejad is hoping, if the revolution is successful, that Libya’s new government will be friendlier towards Iran. This is possible, except Libya hasn’t exactly been Iran’s enemy. In fact, after Ahmadinejad’s controversial 2009 electoral victory, Gaddafi sent Ahmadinejad a congratulatory message.

They have been economic allies, and Libya has even expressed its refusal to cooperate with international efforts to sanction Iran in its quest to acquire nuclear weapons. To say that Libya is Iran’s enemy would be like saying the world is flat. Obviously, this theory fails as well.

Maybe … just maybe … the answer is that Ahmadinejad is finally a changed man: after all, anyone can change right? Don’t believe it.

Send Sean your comments at spmccaul@asu.edu