FOX NEWS Ahmadinejad mobbed by 'hungry' protesters in Iran
بازدید استانی محمود احمدی نژاد از پیروزی به تحقیر
provincial visits go from triumph to humiliation
Iranian president's tours of
the country used to attract large crowds, now they more often draw protests if
anyone at all
When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, he pledged to
visit all 31 Iranian provinces at least twice during his presidential term. The
plan drew criticism from the beginning; the opposition accused him of populism
by trying to promote his own profile, and said he was wasting money and
But many people loved it. Pictures of thousands of people in
provinces waiting for the presidential motorcade, desperately running after his
car to catch a glimpse or shake a hand and, as it became popular later, to hand
him a letter of request, became familiar in state TV's rolling coverage of his
When it became apparent that Ahmadinejad's office actually
responded to many of the letters -- often requests for grants or loans -- more
and more people turned out to greet him. Agency pictures showed a hardworking
Ahmadinejad taking a nap on the floor on tour and a documentary was even made
called Letters to the President.
But as his popularity dwindled,
especially in the aftermath of the 2009 disputed presidential elections, his
provincial visits became less triumphant: pictures (such as this image from the
western city of Tabriz) showed humiliatingly small crowds turning out to greet
This week, a dramatic video was posted on YouTube showing a young
woman jumping on to Ahmadinejad's car. The footage drew a great deal of
attention, with the Times describing the woman as a "motorcade heroine".
Elsewhere, the Telegraph said Ahmadinejad had been mobbed by "hungry
Watching the video, it's impossible to make out what the
woman is actually saying to the president, but there is nothing to suggest the
incident was any different from previous occasions in which petitioners have
mobbed Ahmadinejad. A similar incident happened earlier this year in Hormozgan
province, in which another woman sat on his car.
A longer film of the
incident shows an elderly man repeatedly shouting, "Ahmadinejad, I'm hungry," to
the dismay of the presidential bodyguards.
Ahmadinejad's visit to
southern Iran triggered another controversy last week when he visited the
disputed island of Abu-Musa, which the United Arab Emirates claims is Arab
territory occupied by Iran. The UAE officials' criticism of the visit were
echoed by other Persian Gulf states.
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