“Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be the sole and only man responsible for any harm his un-political language might inflict on Iran”, warned Mr. Masha’allah Shamsolva’ezin, one of Iran’s most influential and prolific journalists.
In an exclusive interview with the independent, pro-reform internet daily “Rooz”, edited in London and Paris, Mr. Shamsolva’ezin, better known as “Shams”, also accused the fanatic Iranian President of pouring oil on the fire which is surrounding Iran.
The language and the literature of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not that of a statesman, but that of any ordinary man of the street.
Editor of several popular, influential, mass circulation reformist titles, all shut down on orders from Ayatollah Ali Khamenehei, Mr. Shams is now the spokesman for the Iranian Association for the Defence of the Press Freedom
Here is the integral interview as posted by Rooz on13 November 2007:
Rooz - In the two years that has elapsed since the election of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President, he often has used a language to describe the situation of his opponents that is unprecedented in the Iranian political society. Where are the roots and places of such an apolitical language?
Masha’allah Shamsolva’ezin (Shams) The language and the literature of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not that of a statesman, not only in relation with his critics, but also with everything, even with his closest collaborators in the government. It is the language of a passerby who incidentally and by coincidence happens to pass by the Pasteur Street (an old, tree shaded street in old centre of Tehran inhabited mostly by upper class nobility and high bourgeoisie, named after the famous French doctor and where are located today most of the offices of the Iranian presidency) and ends up at the Presidency Palace. Therefore, whether in international field or national, the literature the President is using is that of the common man of the street.
The second point is that from the outset, Mr. Ahmadinejad did not understood the importance a phenomenon named critics, opponents and opposition represents in any nation for its political future, confidence building and the increase of political security of the country. Therefore, because of the lack of these sciences, he uses the literature of the street man to face his political opponents.
Moreover, ever since he came to power, Mr. Ahmadinejad suffers from a difficulty that in the language of psychology, is named “the complex of inferiority”. In fact, since he assumed power, he was not recognized by any of Iranian political, social, cultural and intellectual elite. Not only the international community, but also the Iranian elite, because of the lack of knowledge they had about him, because of the absence of a proper identity in his personality and the violent discourse he uses, he has not been officially recognized. Mr. Ahmadinejad is aware of his situation among the elite as well as the opposition, and tries to overcome his complex of inferiority by using vulgarity, by attacking the elite. This while among the political elite, Mr. Ahmadinejad does not represent anything. We must realize that he has no place among the Iranian political elite, and this has its roots in various phenomenon.
The lamguage Ahmadinejad use is one of ordinary people propelled to the office of the presidency.
Rouz - Nevertheless, supporters of the Government are of the opinion that the presence of Mr. Ahmadinejad at the Iranian presidency is widely acclaimed inside and outside Iran, particularly at the international level, where they spent a lot of time for it ….
Shams – There is nothing elitist or superior in Mr. Ahmadinejad to make people follow him. Moreover, contrary to the international political bazaar, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s palabre has very few listeners in local political market.. I heard you telling that he has described his opponents as goats. This means that I, as a professional journalist who must follow the country’s political discourses and articles at close range, I have crossed him from what I have to hear, let alone the public opinion and other influential social and political elite. This means that the listening market for Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statements at the Iranian social theatre is very small and limited.
However, at the international level, because of international interactions, his speeches get more interest, as a pretext to increase pressures over Iran and force it to accept some of the calculations considered by the United States and its allies for Iran.
Rouz – Both Mr. (former president Mohammad) Khatami and Ahmadinejad have been on the spotlight at international scene. What similarities and differences do you see between the two men?
Shams – I have found one common point and one point of major difference between Mr. Khatami and Mr. Ahmadinejad: The common point is that both men did not know they would become president until one week before the elections. But there are a lot of points of differences: Mr. Khatami, despite having 22 million people behind him and enjoying a privileged position among Iranian elite and a very prestigious situation among the international family, he never took himself seriously. The elite took him seriously, but he was not able to satisfy their wishes.
If Iran is harmed, I would take Mr. Ahmadinejad and the language of his Government as the only and sole responsible for having provided necessary fuel to the fire that sourrounds Iran
On the contrary, Mr. Ahmadinejad, despite not having any position and place among Iranian and foreign elite, yet he wants to impose himself as a man of influence and importance, therefore, he has taken himself very seriously. Hence, a language full of violence and attacks. On a psychological stand, he wants to compensate this lack of recognition by others and overcome some of his psychological complexes by himself. Therefore, there is no point to say that the curb of his language and political attitude in the past two years has been upward or downward. The best to say is that it had been a horizontal line with few dents.
Rouz – What is the reason behind such a littérature and what can be its consequences for our people ?
Shams – I think that Mr. Ahmadinejad and his people have reached the conclusion that this term is their last, having no chance for a second mandate, except off course of the desire of the State (the leader) on who should be the president. Opinion polls show that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s popularity has fallen to bellow twenty seven, twenty eight per cent, including among his own constituency. As a result, he tries to show his true visage, one that had been hidden during the presidential campaign under the disguise of slogans like transferring oil money to poor people’s napkin or fight the corrupt lords, slogans that now have been put naked in view of the people.
Now that everything has been unmasked, Ahmadinejad uses a language of the cold war time, not realizing that the world has changed. The consequences of such an action can be very dangerous for the national interests of Iran, as seen from the damages the speeches and statements he made about Israel or the nuclear issue inflicted to our national interests, without having the slightest benefit for the people or the nation. Therefore, I think we must expect more negative impacts in the future. In any case, if Iran is harmed, I would take Mr. Ahmadinejad and the language of his Government as the only and sole responsible for having provided necessary tools to widen the fire front and hard the national interests of Iran.
Rouz – Is the possibility of such a scenario important?
Shams – Unfortunately, its risks increases every day.
Rouz – Meaning that critics would suffer more pressures?
Shams – I don’t expect anything extraordinary in Iran’s internal situation, because, as I said, nobody pays any attention to what Mr. Ahmadinejad says and for the same reason, nobody is afraid of the tonality of his language. For this reason, I don’t think there would be more pressures on the critics. The present trend would continue. ENDS SHAMS 151107
Editor’s note : The interview has been carried out by Rooz’s Ommid Me’marian.
Highlights and translation are made by IPS.