Questions for Mr. Ahmadinejad

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I realize that reporters at the United Nations this week will be terribly busy covering the world body's annual proctological exam of Israel, but Karim Sadjapour suggests that reporters ask the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a few questions, if they happen to stumble upon him. Here are a few from Karim, to get things started:

Nongovernmental organizations, including Transparency International, Freedom House and the World Bank, have said that Iran's rates of corruption, economic malaise and repression during your tenure are higher than those of Hosni Mubarak's Egypt and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's Tunisia. Are you confident you won't share their fate?

Iran's closest ally since the 1979 revolution, Syria, has brutally killed more than 2,600 citizens this year -- including children -- who were protesting for greater political freedoms. How do you reconcile your country's close friendship with Bashar al-Assad's regime, given your claim to stand for justice and the oppressed?

The anti-government protests in Iran on June 15, 2009, were significantly larger than any protests in the Middle East this year, yet you referred to the protesters as "dust and dirt." Do you regret using that term?

In leaked diplomatic cables, a senior Iraqi tribal leader asserted that your government has provided him and other Iraqi officials "short-term marriages" with Iranian women in order to garner influence. Does Iran use prostitution as a form of statecraft?

During your presidency Iran has had the highest per capita execution rate in the world, including recent public executions and executions of people accused of being homosexual. Are you proud of this record?

Ali Vakili Rad, who was convicted by the French in 1991 for the brutal stabbing death of 77-year-old Iranian democracy activist Shapour Bakhtiar in Paris, was given an official hero's welcome at the Tehran airport upon his release from prison last year. Why does your government glorify assassins?


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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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