Former president and firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was arrested on Saturday for allegedly inciting unrest against the ruling party of the Iranian government, based on “reliable sources in Tehran,” according to the Times of Israel.
Ahmadinejad is accused of making disparaging remarks against the government of President Hassan Rouhani. Ahmadinejad gave a speech while visiting the Iranian city of Bushehr in which he allegedly accused leaders of the current regime of being out of touch with the needs of the people.
“Some of the current leaders live detached from the problems and concerns of the people, and do not know anything about the reality of society.”
The report also said that Ahmadinejad painted a picture of the Rouhani government as believing that the Iranian people are an ignorant society and his government owns the land.
According to the Times of Israel, which stated that it could not independently verify the information, Ahmadinejad has been placed under house arrest pending formal charges. At this time, there is no word from the Iranian state-run FARS news agency confirming or denying reports of Ahmadinejad’s arrest.
These developments come amid reports that some of the largest anti-government demonstrations are taking place in the streets of Iran. According to reports from multiple news agencies, the latest round of protests has led to the deaths of more than two dozen people and the arrests of more than 1,000 demonstrators.
Ahmadinejad has long been an incendiary political figure in global politics, whose tendentious views have sparked much controversy over the years. Even Ahmadinejad’s appearances abroad have fueled anger and protests, with one erupting in New York City during his first visit to the United States after becoming president of Iran.
Ahmadinejad, who is known for his fiery and sometimes bizarre rhetoric, once caused a stir while addressing the United Nations General Assembly when he alleged that most people believed that the September 11 terror attacks were committed by the United States government. The former president also questioned the existence of al Qaeda during the same speech.
Some of Ahmadinejad’s most provocative moves occurred in 2005 when he publicly announced that the Holocuast was a myth that never happened. Ahmadinejad went on to say in his address that if the Jewish state was created out of guilt over what the Nazis did under Hitler’s Germany, it should have been carved out from European lands.