I think it should be bothering more people that the leader of a nation working very hard to aquire nuclear weapons wants the world as we know it to end. See my earlier post on Iran and deterence. John Daniszewski, of the Los Angeles Times, wrote this article last spring on Iranian fervor for the return of the Mahdi, which would mean the end of this present period of history. (article linked from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette) He notes that one of Ahmadinejad's first actions was to spend $20 million refurbishing a mosque connected with veneration of the Mahdi.

Regimechangeiran has the transcript of the UN speech made one year ago by Ahmadinejad. Afterward he reported to colleagues that he had been surrounded by light as he gave the address. Here are the last two paragraphs:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

From the beginning of time, humanity has longed for the day when justice, peace, equality and compassion envelop the world. All of us can contribute to the establishment of such a world. When that day comes, the ultimate promise of all
Divine religions will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being who is heir to all prophets and pious men. He will lead the world to justice and absolute

0 mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace. 0 Lord, include us among his companions, followers and those who serve his cause.

(more cont.)

Vitalperspective has the transcript of his speech this week to the UN.

Here are the last paragraphs:

Peoples driven by their divine nature intrinsically seek good, virtue, perfection and beauty. Relying on our peoples, we can take giant steps towards reform and pave the road for human perfection. Whether we like it or not, justice, peace and virtue will sooner or later prevail in the world with the will of the Almighty God. It is imperative, and also desirable, that we, too, contribute to the promotion of justice and virtue.

The Almighty and merciful God, who is the Creator of the universe, is also its Lord and ruler.

Justice is His command. He commands His creatures to support one another in good, virtue and piety, and not in decadence and corruption. He commands His creatures to enjoin one another to righteousness and virtue and not to sin and transgression.

All divine prophets, from the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) to the Prophet Moses, to the Prophet Jesus Christ, to the Prophet Mohammad have all called humanity to monotheism, justice, brotherhood, love and compassion. Is it not possible to build a better world based on monotheism, justice, love and respect for the rights of human beings, and thereby transform animosities into friendship?

I emphatically declare that today's world more than ever before longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity, and above all, longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.

Oh, Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.

(An Okie Gardener again) The "perfect human being" for which he is longing is the Hidden Imam. I quote now from one of the standard introductory textbooks on world religions, Noss & Noss 9th ed.

The sect of the Twelvers claims the great majority of the Shi'ites as members. They get their name from reckoning from the twelfth imam, Muhammad al-Muntazar. This imam is of great importance to them. They say that in 878 c.e. he "disappeared" or "withdrew" into the cave of the great mosque at Samarra, up the river from Baghdad. Being only five years of age, he left no issue, but the Twelvers refused to believe that Allah could have let the divenely instituted line of imams come to an end. The twelfth imam therefore had simply gone into concealment; he had withdrawn from human sight until the fullness of the time when he will return as the Mahdi, "the divinely guided one" who will usher in a period of righteousness and peace before the end of the world and the last judgment.
. . . .
Shi'ites maintain that the "concealed imam," while remaining in his hidden state where death cannot touch him, never leaves his waiting followers without guidance. He has selected representatives on earth to lead them for him. . . .

(me again) the word imam "exemplar", a leader of religious life; among Shi'ites it refers specifically to the descendent of Ali designated by Allah as the authoritative leader