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Ahmadinejad: US is after Hidden Imam

Americans view mythical religious savior as threat to their ‘evil empire,’ former Iranian president says

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Cairo, Egypt, February 6, 2013 (AP/Amr Nabil)
Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Cairo, Egypt, February 6, 2013 (AP/Amr Nabil)

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States of seeking to apprehend the Hidden Imam, who according to Shi’ite belief vanished in the 10th century and will reappear in the end of days as the ultimate savior of humankind.

Speaking on Sunday to clerics at a speech marking the beginning of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Ahmadinejad claimed that members of US academic institutions were engaged in tedious studies aimed at locating the Imam, Radio Free Europe reported.

“They’ve done so much research about the Hidden Imam in the human science universities of the United States that I am not exaggerating by saying that it is a thousand times more than all the work done in the seminaries of Qom, Najaf, and Mashhad,” he said, referring to three Shiite holy cities, according to a transcript posted on the website and translated by Radio Free Europe.

“To quote a friend, they’ve completed a case against the Hidden Imam, and closed it also for his arrest… the only [evidence] they lack is his picture,” he added.

Ahmadinejad went on to assert that the US was concerned the Hidden Imam would pose a threat to its “empire” as well as to its “evil” plans.

“It is really a government established by Satan to prevent reaching God and the Hidden Imam,” Ahmadinejad said. “This evil government knows that its end will come if the Hidden Imam reappears.”

The former president conceded that “some in Iran laugh about these comments,” and indeed, following the speech, the country’s leading reformist daily newspaper, Shargh, described his musings as “strange.”

Ahmadinejad was known in the West for his harsh rhetoric toward Israel, at one point saying it should be wiped off the map. Inside Iran, his administration faced a growing chorus of corruption allegations, particularly during its latter years. President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate who succeeded Ahmadinejad in 2013, has repeatedly alleged widespread corruption under the administration of his predecessor.

Earlier this month, Iranian authorities arrested former vice president Hamid Baghaei, who served under Ahmadinejad, the official IRNA news agency reported. In January, Iran’s supreme court convicted and sentenced former vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi to five years in prison and fined him 10 billion rials ($300,000).

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