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Former Iranian president Ahmadinejad praises Ukraine’s ‘resistance,’ rebukes Islamic Republic’s support for Russia

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticized the Iranian government on several occasions since leaving office.

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed his support for Ukraine in its war with Russia. 

Ahmadinejad tweeted yesterday to the “great nation of #Ukraine” and its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

“Your honorable and almost unrivalled resistance uncovered the Satanic plots of enemies of mankind,” wrote Ahmadinejad on the social media site. 

“Trust that the great nation of #Iran is standing by you, while admiring this heroic persistence,” he added. 

Twitter is banned in Iran, but many politicians use the website. 

The comments by Ahmadinejad, who was president of Iran from 2005 to 2013, directly contradicted the Islamic Republic’s stance on the conflict, which supports Russia. Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian blamed the war on “provocations” by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance. 

Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has taken a similar stance. "Ukraine is a victim to America's policy of crisis instigation,” Khamenei said on March 1. 

The leaders are referring to Western support for Ukraine joining NATO. Ukraine’s potential admission to NATO was one of the reasons Russia invaded its neighbor. 

On the other hand, Iran abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution this week condemning the Russian invasion and calling for a withdrawal. 

This is not the first time Ahmadinejad has voiced opposition to the Iranian government. In 2018, amid protests in Iran, Ahmadinejad criticized then-President Hassan Rouhani’s economic policies. 

Last year, Ahmadinejad slammed the government’s violent crackdown on protests over water shortages in the southwest Khuzestan province. 

Also last year, Ahmadinejad took his criticisms to a new level by alleging a “corrupt ring” in Iran’s intelligence services conducting espionage on behalf of foreign powers. 

Ahmadinejad has long been known in the English-speaking world for outlandish comments. In 2009, the statesman famously denied the existence of homosexuality in Iran during a speech at Columbia University. In 2021, he wished the late American rapper Tupac Shakur a happy birthday. 

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