Iran’s President, Ahmadinejad, Launches Blog

Iran’s President has launched a web log, using his first entry to recount his poor upbringing and ask visitors to the site if they think the US and Israel want to start a new world war. But actually, the blog is an unusual move by the conservative president, whose government has censored Internet sites it deems inappropriate and cracked down on bloggers who posted anti-government messages since he was elected a year ago. Many of clerics who support Ahmadinejad also have shunned the use of advance technology, though other hardliners have sent cell phone campaign messages to public in the past.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose speeches are riddled with anti-US rhetoric, also described how he was angered by American meddling in Iran even when he was at elementary school. Ahmadinejad swept to a surprise victory in last year’s presidential race by promising the country’s poor a fairer share of Iran’s oil wealth and emphasizing his own humble origins that led many to vote for him as an “outsider” to Iran’s ruling elite.

“During the era that … living in a city was perfection. I was born in a poor family in a remote village,” he wrote in a blog dated Friday, after opening with Islamic greetings.

His origin as the son of “a hard-bitten toiler blacksmith” may have been humble, but he says he excelled at school where he said he came 132nd out of 400.000 in exams to enter university. As well as promising a better life to the poor, Ahmadinejad has sought to what he says in Western pressure to stop Iran’s civilian nuclear programme. The West says Iran is building an atomic bomb.

His defiance in the stand-off with the West has often played well in the Muslim world, where many are angered by US foreign policy in the Middle East. Analyst Saeed Laylaz said the site – available in Persian, Arabic, English and French at – may be seeking to win support from abroad.

“Do you think that the US and Israeli intention and goal by attacking Lebanon is pulling the trigger for another world war?” the president asks visitors to the site, offering them to choice to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

He said the Islamic Revolution patriarch Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini began to appeal to him when ayatollah was in exile in the 1960s and 70s. “The more I became familiar with his though and philosophy, the more affection I had for that divine leader and his separation and absence was intolerable for me,” he wrote, as translated into English.

Ahmadinejad describes how in the first grade at school – for those aged about seven – he read newspapers with help of adults about how the then shah of Iran gave Americans living in Iran immunity from prosecution under Iranian laws. “I realized that Mohammad Reza (Shah) attempted to add another page to the vicious case history which was the humiliation and indignity of the Iranian people versus Americans,” he said.

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