Multiple media outlets are reporting that former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been placed under house arrest for inciting unrest in Iran due to comments he made about the administration of current president Hassan Rouhani.
What did Ahmadinejad say that got him arrested?
According to London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Ahmadinejad said in a December 28th speech in Bushehr that “Some of the current leaders live detached from the problems and concerns of the people, and do not know anything about the reality of society.” He went on to say that the current government was suffering from “mismanagement” and that it believed that the people of Iran were “ignorant.”
The protests that have roiled the middle eastern nation began in earnest on December 29th, and the government blames Ahmadinejad’s comments, in part, for inciting them. Ahmadinejad was also alleged to have attended one of the anti-government demonstrations that rocked the country this week. Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports that the Iranian government has ordered Ahmadinejad placed under house arrest.
Because of the Iranian government’s hostility to free press — particularly Western free press — no Western media outlets have been able to independently confirm that Ahmadinejad is, in fact, under arrest.
Who is Ahmadinejad?
Ahmadinejad served as president of Iran from 2005 through 2013. He is also an engineer by trade and a businessman, and has an estimated net worth of around $5 million, according to IBT. He governed as a hard-line, anti-Western conservative, and his re-election in 2009 was marred by widespread, credible accusations of fraud, which led in part to the 2009 Green Movement protests.
Ahmadinejad drew the ire of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei for alleged corruption in his government.
In the 2013 Iranian elections, Ahmadinejad endorsed Hassan Rouhani’s rival. He attempted to run for president again in 2017, but the Iranian Guardian Council ruled him ineligible to run.