My meetings with Ahmadinejad

Valter Xeu is the editor of the news site Patria Latina and he collaborates with the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru. Not many people have access to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Valter has. While the mainstream media is deriding the Iranian President as at best unbalanced, we get from Valter an insight into Ahmadinejad the human being.

"My first meeting with President Ahmadinejad took place in an event covering Palestina in Teheran in October 2011, where I was a guest of the Iranian government. In one of the lectures, the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appeared with the Supreme Leader of the Iranian Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei. I was able to approach President Ahmadinejad and I shook his hand, telling him I am Brazilian. He replied 'Lula is my friend and a friend of the Iranian people'.

"In Iran, admiration for ex-President Lula does not only come from the President. Wherever I went, and identified myself as a Brazilian, the first question ewas about Lula and immediately afterwards, soccer players such as Pele, the phenomenon Ronaldo, Kaká, Roberto Carlos and Ronaldinho Gaúcho.

"My second meeting with President Ahmadinejad was in Rio+20 on a cold Thursday morning in a café of the Royal Tulip Hotel in Rio de Janeiro. Journalists and intellectuals were gathered there, all of them guests of the Iranian Embassy in Brazil, among them Mario Augusto Jakobskind, Beto Almeida (both present in Havana in 2002 when Patria Latina arose after conversations with Fidel Castro), Beatriz Bissio, the warrior of Handbooks of the Third World, the editor of Vermelho and collaborator with Patria, Zé Reinaldo de Carvalho, Gilberto, from Correio do Brasil, Maria Luiza who worked in the campaign of governor Waldir Pires, the warrior Nelba, from Midia Crusius, collaborator with Pateia Latina and Irã News, Emir Sader, our columnist, writer and sociologist, among many others.

"More than two hours in conversation with the Iranian President, who paid attention to all, listening attentively, even those who on such occasions ramble on in boring monologues. During the free conversation, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke about the international situation, the European economic crisis, the crisis made by the West in the Middle East, Rio+20, capitalism...

"An open conversation and after this the photo session, and there again was Ahmadinejad, showing an extreme degree of goodwill and patience that comes from a country with seven thousand years of culture, smiling, shaking hands, without once showing an expression of boredom or annoyance.

"The next day, another press conference and again there he was, anwering diplomatically the same old questions that had been asked the day before, with class and politely".


Valter Xéu

Journalist and editor of Pátria Latina

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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey