chapter  11
Iran’s nuclear era
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 2005–2013
Pages 33

The election of conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2005 marked a turning point both in Iran's internal political development and in its relationship to the international community. Tehran's defiant pursuit of nuclear technology helped Ayatollah Khamenei and Ahmadinejad together to achieve their shared objective of transforming perceived Iranian power into actual power. Ahmadinejad's presidency was used by Khamenei to remove any remaining foreign influence on Iranian society left from Rafsanjani's pragmatist and Khatami's reformist governments. Ahmadinejad's election coincided with Khamenei's abrupt change of position regarding Iran's nuclear program. Khamenei turned his focus as Supreme Leader to the new generation, born and raised exclusively under 'Islamic principles'. He promoted Iran's right to nuclear progress, citing Islamic principles of 'rights and duties'. Khamenei attempted to divert focus from Iran's nuclear program by proposing the universality of Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) guidelines for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) nonproliferation within the region.