In April, Ahmadinejad ruled out a return to politics but many of his supporters beg to differ.
They are tirelessly organizing and insist on his return. These are an unlikely bunch. Their young cadre runs many blogs and social media accounts. They draw controversy by their occasionally unconventional mixing of Islamism with an anti-wealthy and anti-establishment discourse, and many have spent time in jail for their activities. Their targets are not only the Reformists but many of the traditional conservatives.
Take Ahmad Shariat, who heads the Internet committee of an Ahmadinejad organization. In his blog, he attacked the policy of backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, called for a boycott of the last Majles elections in 2012 (because many Ahmadinejad forces were barred), attacked establishment religious figures such as Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi and, finally, dared to criticize Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself (the latter, in early 2013, led to the closing of Shariat’s blog and his arrest).
These supporters leave no doubt as to their allegiance to the ex-president. One name they go by is “Homa,” a Persian acronym for “Supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.” An online newspaper with the same name (Homa Daily) opened last week on the occasion of Ahmadinejad’s 58th birthday. (“Square 72” is another outlet, named after Ahmadinejad’s neighborhood in northeastern Tehran).