A Profile in Defiance

Ahmadinejad came of age in the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq War. He sees little benevolence in the West’s interventions and conflict is inevitable.

Issue: Spring 2006

In June the hard-line mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, walked across American and Israeli flags painted on the pavement of a mosque and voted in Iran's ninth presidential election. After all the ballots were counted, the results stunned the international community-an unreconstructed ideologue had emerged triumphant, confounding all predictions that Iran's youthful populace and sophisticated middle class would somehow press its politics in a reformist, even liberal direction. In the intervening months, Ahmadinejad has gone on to perplex and outrage the international community through his denials of the Holocaust, incendiary denunciations of America and a marked indifference to global opinion.

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