Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes his final appearance at the United Nations today. There are just 9 months left in President Ahmadinejad’s term and it’s unclear who his successor might be or how he will be remembered at home.
Over the course of his tenure as President of Iran, Ahmadinejad has become infamous for his extraordinarily provocative statements, including his denial of the Holocaust, and his extreme homophobia. But Hooman Majd says we have made too much of the president's true power because of this sort of sensationalism.
"We tend to put a little bit too much emphasis on who he is and what he does," says Majd. "He has hardly any say in the nuclear issue, which is the most important issue for Americans and Israelis." Since Ahmadinejad is not the commander in chief of Iran's armed forces, he has no power to declare war or mobilize the army.
Though Ahmadinejad has said that he wants to remain active in politics, Majd predicts that he will begin to fade from the scene once he is no longer in office. "He has so many enemies right now, even within the conservative, hard-line camp where he came from." Far from legitimizing provocative discourse, Ahmadinejad's legacy will be only one of his own disgrace — both internationally, and at home in Iran.