Tehran, Nov 9 (EFE).- People begin to line up outside the home of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran shortly after sunrise.
To the international community, Ahmadinejad is remembered for his Holocaust denial and for pushing the country’s nuclear program during his 2005-13 rule.
But for many Iranians, he has become a last resort for help.
“I have economic problems,” Maryam Ebrahimi, a 44-year-old Tehran resident, told Efe. “I heard that he helps people and that is why I have come”.
Ebrahimi needs money to take care of her sick sister, who has no health insurance, she added.
Mahtab Khodami, meanwhile, is looking to solve an issue for her husband, an army veteran whose injuries from a chemical attack during the Iran-Iraq war left him unable to work.
“Ahmadinejad understood the people during his presidency. I have come to help me or my children find work,” Khodami, 50, told Efe.
Ali Afshar, 26, wants to work for a government company and hopes to secure a contract through the former president.
Ahmadinejad listens to the help seekers, who separated by a barrier due to the coronavirus pandemic, takes notes and instructs his personnel on each case.
“People come, what am I going to do?” the former president said when asked about the reason why he helps them. “We try to fix people’s problems.”
This morning ritual is repeated five days a week and some of the people come from outside Tehran.
Most of these people want either money or a job, which mirrors the situation in the country, according to Ahmadinejad.
“You see the situation of the people,” he says while pointing to the queue of about 20 people who are waiting their turn to explain their problems.
He says that some days up to 100 people come to his house.
The Iranian economy has been hit by sanctions reimposed by former US President Donald Trump in 2018 and the pandemic.
Although his presidency was controversial, Ahmadinejad still has strong support among the Iran’s working class, who trust that he can help them economically.
Ahmadinejad, son of a blacksmith and a graduate in Transportation Engineering and Planning, has always cultivated an image of a humble man close to the people.
The long lines in front of his house fuel that idea. EFE