Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Iran's Twelfth Imam

Wow -- what a freaky story about Iran's recently elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He's demanded Israel should be "wiped off the map", and with stories of Iranian nuclear capabilities hitting the newswires are to be believed, he'll have the means to do it on the cheap, too.
By some accounts, the new president's first deputy, Parvis Davoudi, recently asked cabinet members during a formal meeting to pledge their allegiance to the Mahdi in a signed letter. And when Ahmadinejad was Tehran's mayor, he reportedly refurbished a major boulevard on grounds that the Mahdi was to travel along it upon his return. Last week, a videodisc began circulating that reportedly shows the president chatting with one of the country's leading clerics, Ayatollah Javadi Amoli. Referring to his September speech to the United Nations, during which he called for the return of the 12th imam, the Iranian president confides that he felt himself surrounded by a radiant light. Not one foreign diplomat blinked during his speech, he adds. All this has caused a major stir, prompting some critics to wonder if Ahmadinejad has come to fancy himself as the 12th imam's representative on Earth—a dangerous notion for a man with a Ph.D. in traffic management.
Maybe the most important sentence in this article in the context of this blog is that
He's thrice nominated individuals for the position of Oil minister whose qualifications for the job were light or nonexistent. All have been rejected by Parliament.
If the Iranians are having trouble with their reservoirs, as with Venezuela, it won't help that the guys at the top don't know the oil business. As expected, much of his political success is seen as hinging on his ability to buy votes, and one key program -- the "Love Fund", so named because it hands out make-work jobs and loans to newlyweds -- has already failed parliamentary muster. If there's one thing that's increasingly becoming clear, the political problems associated with oil wealth will make peak oil more difficult, not less, to bear.