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Hopeless in Aradan

By: Meir Javedanfar


Aradan, a small village in the Semnan province of Iran, is the birthplace of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Its local population does not exceed 5000. Most are Persians. There are also some Gilak speakers. These are people who emigrated from the Gilan province, in northern Iran, where they have their own dialect. Aradan has an old Bazaar and a number of old mosques, which are in a dilapidated state. Its only tourist attraction is the grave of five Arab pilgrims, who died there on their way to the shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad, in the 18th century.

Some of Ahmadinejad’s relatives still live there. Its population are understandably proud of Ahmadinejad. However, even here, the president has managed to disappoint. According to a recent article in the daily Telegraph, in Aradan:

“About 60 per cent of people are using opium these days, and about 12 per cent using crack, which will kill them within a few years,” said one official. “The problem is serious because of the underemployment; most people have only two to three hours of work a day.”

If the regime ever collapses, in my opinion, it is very probable that the start of its end will be traced back to the administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Because in terms of economic welfare, since the start of the revolution, life has never been so bad for so many Iranians.

Colin Freeman of the Daily Telegraph traveled to Aradan, and wrote a very informative article. Entitled “In President Ahmadinejad’s hometown in Iran, hope goes up in opium smoke”, it paints an painful picture of life in one of Iran’s poorest areas. I highly recommend it. You can read it here


Posted on : Oct 29 2008
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Posted under Iran- Social Issues |