The stories were reportedly gathered by a group of "independent university students," who say they had the “good fortune" to gain access to a tape of a private discussion between Ahmadinejad’s son and his friends.
The students say the tape, where the son talks about his father, sheds light on what they describe as "the hidden angles" of Ahmadinejad’s personality and made them want to know more.
So they ended up interviewing some of Ahmadinejad’s ministers, aides, and a former driver and then published the stories.
In them Ahmadinejad is portrayed as a pious, honest, and generous person who leads a very simple life.
Here are some highlights:
The doctor [Ahmadinejad] sometimes gives as a gift his ring, his prayer rosary, and even the coat he wears. People write him letters and ask for them and he tells his office aides to post them [the items].
Once one of the clerics asked Dr. [Ahamdinejad] why do you keep talking about the hidden imam, you have no right. Ahamdinejad replied: Do you own the hidden imam?
His favorite food is "ghormeh sabzi" [an Iranian herb stew] and "ash" [thick Iranian soup]. He is a good cook and when he had time he used to cook these dishes.
Although Ahamdinejad has not yet announced his candidacy for the June presidential election, his campaign seems well under way.
There have been reports in recent weeks that the president has been distributing free potatoes, free oranges, and DVDs of his speeches among Iranian citizens.
Meanwhile the reformists and others have been publically criticizing the president more frequently. On April 28, the moderate presidential candidate and former parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi said that Ahmadinejad's speeches have damaged the country.
Ahmadinejad has also come under attack from bloggers. One of his critics, “Tarfandestan,” posted a number of comments and claims made by the president.
A few examples:
“A 16-year-old in Shiraz has been able to enrich uranium in the basement of her house.”
“In the past two years, an economic miracle has taken place in our country.”
“People feel nauseous just by hearing the word 'democracy.'”
-- Golnaz Esfandiari