Mahmoud Ahmadinejad_Self Representation & Personality
By: Ulfat Jahan
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the sixth and current president of Islamic Republic of Iran. His victory in 2005 election surprised the international community (BBC News, 2010) since he was the least known of all the candidates (Burke, 2006). His message of a return to austerity, honesty, family values and national and religious pride mobilized huge support among Iranians who were upset at the failure of the reformist government (Burke, 2006). Even though the supreme leader is the ultimate authority in Iran who has the “final say” in all the state matters (BBC News, 2010), it is Ahmadinejad who represents Iran in the international community. He calls himself the friend of the people (BBC News, 2010) and says that it is the greatest honor to serve the Iranian people (BBC News, 2005). He is popular at home country for his simple lifestyle, nationalistic ideals, outspoken nature and impressive confidence whereas these very qualities make him a fearsome and threatening political figure to governments in Europe and West (BBC News, 2010). This essay explores Ahmadinejad’s personality and his self-presentation through analyzing his personal and political lifestyle and more specifically through analyzing his speeches, policies and strategies. Analyzing Ahmadinejad’s political and social life it seems that Ahmadinejad wants to project the trait “Conscientiousness” which refers to the tendency of an individual to present himself as disciplined, dutiful, competent, responsible, organized, good planner and thorough (Kalat, 2005). Ahmadinejad presents himself as a dutiful and responsible politician through his simple lifestyle. Unlike other presidents, he has abandoned all the luxuries which his predecessors used to enjoy. The way important guests are welcomed have been changed from an extravagant way to a simpler one and all the expensive carpets of his office have been donated to a mosque in Tehran and replaced by ordinary carpets. Ahmadinejad has changed the president’s aircraft to a cargo aircraft and travels by ordinary airlines in economy class in order to reduce the spending of public treasury. He brings his own breakfast from home to save spending on special food deliveries for president. Through his efforts to reduce the government spending on his comfort, he projects the image of a dutiful person who cares more about benefitting his country than himself. The following statement which he made during an interview with the Fox News emphasizes his effort to present himself as responsible and dutiful. He said, “I see the person in the mirror and tell him, remember, you are no more than a small servant, ahead of you today is the heavy responsibility, and that is to serve the Iranian nation” (Knowledgebase, 2007). Ahmadinejad’s sincerity towards the nation can be related to the active-positive category in Barber’s typology of presidential character. The active-positive category says, presidents in this category enjoy great personal satisfaction from the job and is highly engaged with the state activities (Cottam, Dietz-Uhler, Mastors & Preston, 2009). Ahamdinejad’s emotional attachment and dedication to his work illustrates his high level of satisfaction and engagement with his job. He presents himself to be disciplined and organized through maintaining a strict work schedule, following anti-corruption rules and regularly checking progress and efficiency of different ministries. According to reporter Curry, Ahmadinejad works around the clock and strictly follows a routine or schedule (Cohen, 2011). Ahamadinejad is widely known as an anti-corruption person because of his strict rules against corruption (Encyclopedia of World Biography, n.d.). During the pre-election period in 2005 he promised to fight corruption of elites which helped him to gain popularity among rural Iranians (infoplease a, n.d.). He promotes disciplinary values in his ministers in terms of...
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