The Iranian leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, keeps referring to the "Hidden Imam" in his public speeches. This is a little like hearing an American president publicly saying that his policies are dictated by the "Left Behind" series of apocalyptic fiction. Amir Taheri notes an Ahmadinejad speech last month. Here's Mahmoud:
"They just don't get it. They think that because they pass a resolution everyone is obliged to obey them. Our message is simple: Pass resolutions until you are blue in the face! We are guided by what the Hidden Imam tells us, not what you dictate in your resolutions."
Here's a brief account of the doctrine of the Hidden Imam:
"The Hidden Imam will eventually leave his Greater Occultation and appear (zuhur) to the world of humanity. This return is the most significant event in the future for the Shi'ite faithful and has thunderous eschatological consequences. This return will occur shortly before the Final Judgement and the end of history. Imam Mahdi will return at the head of the forces of righteousness and do battle with the forces of evil in one, final, apocalyptic battle."
I don't know what to make of the fact that a man guided by an eschatological cataclysm is eagerly attempting to get nuclear weapons. But it can't be good news.