Monday, December 25, 2006

Pearls Before Ahmadinejad

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs:

From Reuters:
A Danish art group that pokes fun at world leaders targeted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday by placing an advertisement in a Tehran newspaper with an insulting hidden message.

Beneath a picture of the president, a series of apparently sympathetic statements were arranged such as "Support his fight against Bush" and "Iran has the right to produce nuclear energy". The advert was attributed to "Danes for World Peace".

However, the first letters of each phrase, when read from top to bottom, spell out "S-W-I-N-E".

"We thought we would poke fun at Ahmadinejad because we don't think he's very liberal or sensitive," said Jan Egesborg, a member of the art group Surrend.
Meanwhile, Gateway Pundit reports that after students dissed Ahmadinejad during his Holocaust conference, they have issued a statement, concluding "Whoever sows wind, will reap a tempest."

This is the same guy who in last year's election received just 12% of the vote in the first round, yet somehow ended up with 60% in the second round. But Ahmadinejad was not so lucky in recent elections:
Opponents of Iran's ultra-conservative president won nationwide elections for local councils, final results confirmed Thursday, an embarrassing outcome for the hardline leader that could force him to change his anti-Western tone and focus more on problems at home.

Moderate conservatives critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a majority of seats in last week's elections, followed by reformists who were suppressed by hard-liners two years ago.

The vote was widely seen as a sign of public discontent with Ahmadinejad's stances, which have fueled fights with the West and led Iran closer to U.N. sanctions.

Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel rhetoric and staunch stand on Iran's nuclear program are believed to have divided the conservatives who voted him into power. Some conservatives feel Ahmadinejad has spent too much time confronting the West and failed to deal with Iran's struggling economy.

This is not to say that this 'embarrassment' to Ahmadinejad is going to have any real effect on his statements about the acquisition of nuclear power, his attitude towards the West, or his threats against Israel--but hope always springs eternal:
The results are expected to pressure him to change his populist anti-Western tone and focus more on Iran's high unemployment and economic problems at home.
Maybe. But we're still a long way from seeing any real pressure on Ahmadinejad from within the Iranian leadership to change his ways. As the Wall Street Journal more realistically points out, the onus may be on the US:
It is wrong to imagine that the big winner--former president and Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani--is a moderate or a reformer, though he is more certainly presentable than his successor; he too has threatened Israel with nuclear annihilation. But given the limited political choices the regime offers voters, the election indicates that most Iranians dislike the regime and that they take no pleasure in their president's status as a moral pariah.

There's an opening here to promote change, provided the U.S. doesn't reward Mr. Ahmadinejad's bad behavior by failing to punish it, and provided President Bush reminds Iranians that while the U.S. opposes their government, it stands with Iranians who want more freedom.

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