TEHERAN, Iran — Plans for the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Center for the Purification of Reputation are said to be moving ahead quickly, which is welcome news for the Iranian president as his turbulent time in office comes to an end this summer.
Between a moderate winning a stunning victory in the election to succeed him – a move many are seeing as a repudiation of his hardline policies – and being summoned by a criminal court over flimsy accusations of corruption, Ahmadinejad admitted that his presidency is “coming in for a rough landing.”
“My image could really use a little rehab,” said the soon-to-be-ex-president. “When I saw that [George W.] Bush got a library and no one seems to mind anymore that he drove the U.S. off a cliff, I figured that was the way to go.”
Center director Shayar Bayat says that memorabilia from both Ahmadinejad’s public and private life will be on display, like his friendship collage with late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and a dog-eared, heavily highlighted copy of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
However, more high-tech features will also be available. At specially designed touchscreen kiosks, visitors can interact with a virtual Ahmadinejad who explains why the Holocaust is “a myth” perpetuated by “governments in the pay of Zion.” If the user selects pre-programmed responses such as “No respected authority agrees with you,” or “How can you be so callously uninformed and insane?” the automated Ahmadinejad explains why you are a “Jew sympathizer who will burn in hell.”
For the children, the Center will feature a demonstration explaining how the reckless defying of international resolutions has left them a bleak economic picture. The Mahmoud Lack-of-Many-Jobs ride will feature a water slide that gets steeper at special “sanction markers” as kids slip, slide and are ultimately deposited into the Great Islamic Unemployment Pool of Iran.
Those with a non-political bent can also enjoy the Center. The “Shi’a Members Only” exhibit will have mannequins dressed in replica outfits Ahmadinejad wore over the course of his presidency. “We want to convey how Mr. Ahmadinejad changed the way people saw violent Muslim extremists,” said Bayat. “Instead of the keffiyeh clad lunatics you see in the movies, he gave genocidal extremism a more ‘Casual Friday’ face.”
The Center is set to open in 2017, around the same time Iran plans to announce another tribute to Ahmadinejad’s legacy – it’s fully operational nuclear arsenal.