"Several friends had come and were saying, 'We're worried about the future.' I said, 'The future has been decided, go do your work, the result will come.' [One of them] said, 'Who's the next one?' I said, 'Do you think God doesn't know who's next?' He said [yes, he knows]. I said, 'So why are you sad? The time is over when they could rule people through factional games.'"
Ahmadinejad did not mention any names but reports suggest that he is pushing for his close aide, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, to succeed him, even though the ultimate decision about the country's future president lies with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Digarban.com, a website that focuses on hard-line blogs and websites, reports that Ahmadinejad had predicted a week before the disputed June 2009 presidential vote that he would be the winner of the election.
The Iranian president said on March 16 that before the vote he had told his supporters that a major event would take place.
"I kept saying before the 2009 election that a big event is on the way," Ahmadinejad said. "After the vote someone came and asked me, 'What was the big event?' I said, 'Is there any event bigger than this?!'"
The former mayor of Tehran and a relatively unknown figure, Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005 reportedly with the support of the Revolutionary Guard and Basij. His 2009 reelection is also credited by the opposition to support and vote manipulation by the powerful Revolutionary Guard. He has, however, said that the Iranian election was free and fair.
In a lecture last April Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, made similar comments to those of the president. In a video that has recently appeared on YouTube, the ultra-hard-line Yazdi says the Iranian establishment has divine legitimacy, which makes it different from other regimes. He also says the people have no say.
"Who are the people to give someone the right [ to rule]?"
-- Golnaz Esfandiari