Making excuses for "wipe Israel off the map"

The Christian Science Monitor excuses (and, in essence, apologizes for) the Iranian president's remarks on the grounds that he is inexperienced in foreign policy matters:

In states like Iran — which has diplomatic relations with neither Israel nor the US — there are fewer perceived costs for such angry tub—thumping, at least for a man like Ahmadinejad.

So in the context of modern Iranian history, the fiery rhetoric of the populist leader at a "World Without Zionism" conference was hardly surprising. Ahmadinejad, whose supporters are drawn by the zeal with which he advocates both the anti—imperial claims and social justice goals of Iran's Islamic revolution, appears more interested in shoring up his credentials at home than appeasing the US or Israel.

"I don't think he understands that if he says something like this the world will hear him. I think he's still in mayor of Tehran mode,'' says William Beeman, an anthropology professor at Brown University and author of "The 'Great Satan' vs. The 'Mad Mullahs': How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other."

"He's definitely appealing to his base and his base are a group of people who are involved with a revolutionary rhetoric,'' says Mr. Beeman. Some 300 people turned up Sunday at the offices of the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement to volunteer for suicide bomb missions against Israel, according to the Associated Press.

"Taking an anti—Israel position is certainly not going to hurt him in the public mind," says Gary Sick, an Iran expert at Columbia University. He likens Ahmadinejad's appeal to Iranian voters to the appeal of President Bush in the US — the projection of a plain speaking man who means and does what he says. "His attitude says that 'no one is going to shut me up' and probably goes down pretty well with [average people] in Tehran."

But "Death to Israel" cries from the top are seen as not serving Iran's interests anymore by much of the political elite and serve to further isolate the country. [snip]

To analysts, the episode is an accurate reflection of Ahmadinejad's distaste for Israel, but also represents on—the—job training for a man without a foreign policy background, full control of his own government, or much experience in the global spotlight.

"ON THE JOB TRAINING!!!!!!!!!?

Max Grossman   11 01 05

UPDATE:

Rachel Neuwirth notes a Houston Chronicle editorial which draws more alarming conclusions from the lack of experience of Iran's new president.

See also this:

BEIJING, Nov. 1 —— In Iran, the country's top nuclear negotiator has warned that the international community's reaction to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent remarks regarding Israel could encourage Iran to restart its uranium enrichment.

Ali Larijani, who is also the secretary of Iran's supreme national security council, was speaking to university students at a nuclear conference in Tehran.

Larijani also warned that if the international community imposed sanctions, it could possibly push oil prices up to 150 US dollars a barrel.

Last week, Ahmadinejad said Israel should be "wiped off the map." The comment drew widespread international criticism.

The Christian Science Monitor excuses (and, in essence, apologizes for) the Iranian president's remarks on the grounds that he is inexperienced in foreign policy matters:

In states like Iran — which has diplomatic relations with neither Israel nor the US — there are fewer perceived costs for such angry tub—thumping, at least for a man like Ahmadinejad.

So in the context of modern Iranian history, the fiery rhetoric of the populist leader at a "World Without Zionism" conference was hardly surprising. Ahmadinejad, whose supporters are drawn by the zeal with which he advocates both the anti—imperial claims and social justice goals of Iran's Islamic revolution, appears more interested in shoring up his credentials at home than appeasing the US or Israel.

"I don't think he understands that if he says something like this the world will hear him. I think he's still in mayor of Tehran mode,'' says William Beeman, an anthropology professor at Brown University and author of "The 'Great Satan' vs. The 'Mad Mullahs': How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other."

"He's definitely appealing to his base and his base are a group of people who are involved with a revolutionary rhetoric,'' says Mr. Beeman. Some 300 people turned up Sunday at the offices of the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement to volunteer for suicide bomb missions against Israel, according to the Associated Press.

"Taking an anti—Israel position is certainly not going to hurt him in the public mind," says Gary Sick, an Iran expert at Columbia University. He likens Ahmadinejad's appeal to Iranian voters to the appeal of President Bush in the US — the projection of a plain speaking man who means and does what he says. "His attitude says that 'no one is going to shut me up' and probably goes down pretty well with [average people] in Tehran."

But "Death to Israel" cries from the top are seen as not serving Iran's interests anymore by much of the political elite and serve to further isolate the country. [snip]

To analysts, the episode is an accurate reflection of Ahmadinejad's distaste for Israel, but also represents on—the—job training for a man without a foreign policy background, full control of his own government, or much experience in the global spotlight.

"ON THE JOB TRAINING!!!!!!!!!?

Max Grossman   11 01 05

UPDATE:

Rachel Neuwirth notes a Houston Chronicle editorial which draws more alarming conclusions from the lack of experience of Iran's new president.

See also this:

BEIJING, Nov. 1 —— In Iran, the country's top nuclear negotiator has warned that the international community's reaction to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent remarks regarding Israel could encourage Iran to restart its uranium enrichment.

Ali Larijani, who is also the secretary of Iran's supreme national security council, was speaking to university students at a nuclear conference in Tehran.

Larijani also warned that if the international community imposed sanctions, it could possibly push oil prices up to 150 US dollars a barrel.

Last week, Ahmadinejad said Israel should be "wiped off the map." The comment drew widespread international criticism.