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Published on September 26th, 2011 | by Nina Schick
Image © [caption id="attachment_3736" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Mahmoud Ahmandinejad, Image © Semerkand (2007, Flickr.com)."][/caption] The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, provoked widespread diplomatic indignation with his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week, prompting suggestions that he was using the platform to play for a domestic Iranian audience. In what may be remembered as one of his most controversial addresses, Ahmadinejad launched attacks on Western powers resulting in diplomatic walkouts by the United States, France and the United Kingdom. The Israeli delegation was not present. Domestically, Ahmadinejad has become increasingly politically isolated. His relations with the conservatives close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the ultimate authority in Iran, have become ever-more fraught following a public challenge he posed to the Ayatollah over a cabinet appointment in April. He has subsequently been dropped as Khamenei’s protégé and accused of everything from corruption to sorcery by the Ayatollah’s followers. The latest blow came last week as it was revealed that rumours are circulating amongst Iranian MPs claiming that the current presidential system will be abolished with the reintroduction of a prime minister. Unlike the president - who is elected by the people - the position of prime minister is one appointed by MPs. Given the domestic outlook, it is unsurprising that 'effortless controversialist' Ahmadinejad has seized an opportunity at the GA to address his political opponents and use controversial publicity to divert attention from his political woes. Despite the widespread attention he has received in the international press, however, his visit to New York has ironically been given limited coverage by the Iranian media.

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Ahmadinejad’s UN controversy emblematic of his dwindling influence in Iran

Mahmoud Ahmandinejad, Image © Semerkand (2007, Flickr.com).

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, provoked widespread diplomatic indignation with his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week, prompting suggestions that he was using the platform to play for a domestic Iranian audience.

In what may be remembered as one of his most controversial addresses, Ahmadinejad launched attacks on Western powers resulting in diplomatic walkouts by the United States, France and the United Kingdom. The Israeli delegation was not present.

Domestically, Ahmadinejad has become increasingly politically isolated. His relations with the conservatives close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the ultimate authority in Iran, have become ever-more fraught following a public challenge he posed to the Ayatollah over a cabinet appointment in April. He has subsequently been dropped as Khamenei’s protégé and accused of everything from corruption to sorcery by the Ayatollah’s followers.

The latest blow came last week as it was revealed that rumours are circulating amongst Iranian MPs claiming that the current presidential system will be abolished with the reintroduction of a prime minister. Unlike the president – who is elected by the people – the position of prime minister is one appointed by MPs.

Given the domestic outlook, it is unsurprising that ‘effortless controversialist‘ Ahmadinejad has seized an opportunity at the GA to address his political opponents and use controversial publicity to divert attention from his political woes. Despite the widespread attention he has received in the international press, however, his visit to New York has ironically been given limited coverage by the Iranian media.

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