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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Iranian president launches blog

Iran's president has launched a Web log, using his first entry to recount his poor upbringing and ask visitors to the site if they think the United States and Israel want to start a new world war.

"Oh Almighty God, please, we beg you to send us our Guardian- who You have promised us- soon and appoint us as His close companions," wrote the Iranian president

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose speeches are riddled with anti-U.S. rhetoric, also described how he was angered by American meddling in Iran even when he was at elementary school.

Ahmadinejad swept to a surprise victory in last year's presidential race by promising the country's poor a fairer share of Iran's oil wealth and emphasizing his own humble origins that led many to vote for him as an "outsider" to Iran's ruling elite.

"During the era that ... living in a city was perfection, I was born in a poor family in a remote village," he wrote in a blog dated Friday, after opening with Islamic greetings.

His origins as the son of "a hard-bitten toiler blacksmith" may have been humble, but he says he excelled at school where he said he came 132nd out of 400,000 in exams to enter university.

As well as promising a better life to the poor, Ahmadinejad has sought to bolster support by refusing to bow to what he says is Western pressure to stop Iran's civilian nuclear program. The West says Iran is building an atomic bomb.

Seeking support?

Analyst Saeed Laylaz said the site -- available in Persian, Arabic, English and French at www.ahmadinejad.ir -- may be seeking to win support from abroad.

"Do you think that the US and Israeli intention and goal by attacking Lebanon is pulling the trigger for another world war?" the president asks visitors to the site, offering them the choice to vote 'yes' or 'no'.

Ahmadinejad describes how in the first grade at school -- for those aged about seven -- he read newspapers with the help of adults about how the then shah of Iran gave Americans living in Iran immunity from prosecution under Iranian laws.

"I realized that Mohammad Reza (Shah) attempted to add another page to the vicious case history which was the humiliation and indignity of the Iranian people versus Americans," he said.

He describes listening ardently to the speeches of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the shah's vociferous critic and later leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew the monarchy.

He also discusses Iran's bloody 1980-1988 war with Iraq, in which Ahmadinejad fought as a Revolutionary Guard.

But he admitted his opening blog, which runs to more than 2,300 words in the English version, was too long. "From now onwards, I will try to make it simpler and shorter," he wrote.

The Giyus website has warned that viewers from Israel risk having their computers infected with a virus by Ahmadinejad's website if they click on links on the website.

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