"Thanks to people's wishes and God's will, the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is downwards, and this is what God has promised and what all nations want," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the world at an international conference officially financed by the Republic of Iran.
The stated purpose of the conference was to question the existence of the Nazis' extermination of European Jews during World War II, but its real purpose, as seen by Ahmadinejad, is the delegitimation of the idea of the Jewish state created by the United Nations in 1948.
Actually Ahmadinejad addressed his remarks to a cauldron of cranks from many countries, including the American Ku Klux Klansman David Duke and Adelaide's own Fredrick Toben (once jailed in his native Germany for defaming the dead). Usually such a crowd of fools and fantasists assembled in Yemen or Turkmenistan, or even in Adelaide, could be safely ignored.
Iran's nuclear program forces us to focus on its leaders' kooky views. Even China and Russia supported a Christmas UN Security Council decision imposing financial sanctions on Iran's nuclear program.
Iran's pugnacious response once the UN passed financial sanctions was expressed by Iranian nuclear spokesman Ali Larijani:' 'From Sunday morning [December 24], we will begin activities at Natanz — the site of 3000 centrifuge machines — and we will drive it with full speed.''
Understanding the conceptual link between Ahmadmejad's threats to Israel and his sponsorship of Holocaust denial is vital. In Ahmadinejad's Weltanschauung (world view), the "Western imperialists'' established Israel in 1948 to compensate the Jews for Hitler's genocide. Ahmadinejad thus assumes that if he can' 'prove'' that the Holocaust never happened, this will delegitimise Israel and win support for his calls for its destruction.
It is important to understand Ahmadinejad is not guided by the kind of considerations of national interest that most national leaders take into account. Even by the standards of the radical Shia ideologues who have ruled Iran since 1979, Ahmadinejad is an extremist.
All Shia Muslims believe the Hidden Imam, a 9th century descendant of the prophet Mohammed, will return to earth at some time in the indefinite future, rather as Christians believe in the Second Coming of Christ or Jews in the coming of Moshiach.
But Ahmadinejad is one of a radical minority who believe hi the imminent return of the Flidden Imam (the Mahdi). They see the destruction of Israel, even if it leads to world war, as a fulfilment of prophesy and a means of hastening the Imam's return. In Ahmadinejad's Weltanschauung, even the destruction of a large part of Iran in a nuclear exchange would be a good thing, if it brings the days of the Mahdi.
Ahmadinejad has the support of powerful figures in the Iranian theocracy, particularly his mentor Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who is campaigning to be the next Supreme Leader (a higher post than the presidency).
Yazdi has said the use of nuclear weapons against unbelievers is permitted under Islamic law. Even former president Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, reputedly more moderate than Ahmadinejad, said in 2001 that a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel' 'will leave nothing on the ground hi Israel, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam".
In a statement in the Persian newspaper Khayam, Iran's President promised' 'a surprise for the world by the end of the Persian year'' (March 20,2007). One interpretation is that Iran will detonate an atomic bomb before mid-March. On the other hand supreme Iranian "Guidance Leader" Ayatollah Khameini, may be backpedalling from Ahmadinejad's nuclear boosting. Let's hope so.
• Michael Danby is federal Labor member far Melbourne Ports.
More people should read the warning/conclusion aboutthe "surprise before the Persian New year"Pray that its not true.
on 2007-01-31 11:20:31 GMT