Iranian's Oratory Reflects Devotion to '79 Revolution

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The morning after the ultra-conservative mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was elected president in June, he made a pilgrimage to the tomb of the father of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, an act that appears to have foreshadowed exactly how the president-elect planned to lead his country.

"The path of the imam is the absolute path of the Islamic republic," Mr. Ahmadinejad said then. "He was the founder of the revolution. He is the reference of the revolution."

And so, it should not have been a surprise when he quoted Ayatollah Khomeini and called for Israel "to be wiped off the map," then labeled the Holocaust a legend that was the fault of Europeans, and said Israel should therefore be moved to Europe.

Since taking office, Mr. Ahmadinejad has had numerous problems, failing to deliver on his message of economic populism and to solidify the support of the conservatives who elected him, and of the clerics who supported him.

But he has worked aggressively to roll the clock back to the early days of the revolution. He has moved to erase the changes, especially in foreign policy, which evolved over eight years of rule by President Mohammad Khatami, seeking national unity through international isolation.

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