Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting Dubai. October 13, 2021

Ahmadinejad's Unexpected Visit To Dubai Shows He Is Allowed To Travel

10/14/2021

Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad strolling at the Dubai Expo 2021 has said that political borders and religious, racial divides are created by Satan.

Ahmadinejad who never left Iran after the end of his second term in 2013, suddenly flew to Dubai this week, proving that he is not under a political travel ban.

In a message he read out while visiting the Islamic Republic of Iran's stand and published on his Telegram channel, which has over 414,000 subscribers, the former populist president called himself "the representative of the Iranian nation" at the Expo.

He said he will carry "the Iranian nation's message of peace, friendship and brotherhood" to all other stands at the exhibition.

Some Persian-speaking media outlets outside Iran questioned his claim of representing the Iranian nation.

Ahmadinejad's telegram channel carried several photos and videos showing him with Iranian and foreign visitors taking selfies with him or greeting him at various stands.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Dubai Expo 2021

Iranian reformist daily Arman wrote in an extensive commentary about Ahmadinejad's visit to the Expo that the former president "always likes to be in the spotlight. He wants others to talk about what he does and says."

The daily described the visit to a foreign country by Ahmadinejad as a move similar to other recent developments that indicate a change in the regime's treatment of former politicians whose movement had been restricted. Arman pointed out that former president Mohammad Khatami was recently allowed to deliver a speech at a mausoleum in Tehran and there are rumors that proreform Green Movement Leader Mirhossein Mousavi's wife who has been under house arrest for over a decade with her husband is now free to go around.

Meanwhile, another Green Movement Leader, Mehdi Karroubi was also allowed to deliver a speech in a small group of Iranian politicians last week when he said there is nothing wrong with the essence of the Islamic Republic and only its shortcomings need to be addressed.

However, it is still not known that the travel ban imposed on Khatami, and the ban on the publication of his pictures in the Iranian press have been lifted. Also, there is no news about whether restrictions on Mousavi are going to be lifted or eased.

Iranian analysts speaking to Iran International TV, including Morteza Kazemian, said that Ahmadinejad's situation appears to be different as he has a sizable following who might support his return to the political scene if not to power at one point.

Others say that the presence of many Ahmadinejad's political allies, including vice president Massoud Mirkazemi and Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian as well as several provincial governors in President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration and dozens of lawmakers in Majles gives him a special position.

Ahmadinejad is being accompanied by his wife during the visit and her appearance next to Ahmadinejad has attracted attention in Dubai.

Ahmadinejad's visit is taking place while both he and his media adviser Ali Akbar Javanfekr who accompanies him have outstanding legal cases against them at the Iranian Judiciary which seems to have turned a blind eye to allow the foreign visit, Arman noted, adding that there is probably no travel ban imposed on Ahmadinejad. Javanfekr has also denied the existence of a travel ban.

Another former Ahmadinejad aide, Abdolreza Davari has denied accusations that Ahmadinejad, who has been extremely critical of the regime since 2017, is getting special treatment for keeping silent. Davari said this is not true as Raisi's condition for giving key posts to the former Ahmadinejad allies was cutting their ties with Ahmadinejad.

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