debkafile Exclusive: Ahmadinejad shuts down BAZTAB Web site owned by rival shortly before exercising his freedom of speech at Columbia University

Our Tehran sources disclose that the Iranian president made sure before he aired his racial superiority doctrine before Columbia University students in New York to shut the mouth of BAZTAB, a popular Iranian Website which is administered by the former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsein Rezai and serves as ex-president Hashem Rafsanjani’s platform.
The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, controlled by the president’s loyalists, announced on Sept. 22 that all news activities by BAZTAB Website are banned. The ministry charged the prestigious BAZTAB with “spreading lies, insults and libels.”
debkafile adds: Rafsanjani, a close adviser to supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Ahmadinejad’s leading rival, is the only senior member of the Islamic regime willing to seriously consider halting Iran’s nuclear program to avoid a military confrontation with the United States and put an end to sanctions.
BAZTAB was the sole, solitary publication in Iran which dared to criticize and even lampoon the posturing Iranian president. Most other domestic media, including television and provincial papers, were happy to quote its opinion columns. Its closure shuts the mouths of the key opposition force with views diverging from the most radical extremists embodied by Ahmadinejad.
Last year, after his speech before the UN general assembly, BAZTAB reported that Ahmadinejad had claimed his body glowed with divine light as he spoke. This disclosure made him a laughing stock in the country.
This year, the president took preventive action.
BAZTAB’s owners Rezai and Rafanjani share the president’s ambition to acquire an Iranian nuclear weapon, but they understand that at this stage it will destroy Iran before its enemies. They therefore urge accommodation with the West which allow Iran to retain the technology and capability for producing a nuclear bomb but not use them for its manufacture.
Shutting their Website silenced leading members of the Iranian regime who are seeking a pragmatic solution for the crisis of its nuclear program.
Unfortunately, no intelligence service was able to provided American and Israeli diplomats with this information, which is of prime political importance in Tehran, and it was therefore not available for shooting down his claim that Iran is a free country along with his other lies.
This has left him triumphant over the success of his ruse to make Americans listen to his radical views and falsehoods from a respected platform, without being held to account for shutting mouths at home. For someone like Ahmadinejad, this is not a sign of high American ideals, but of weakness and it confirms his conviction that the Islamic Republic can defeat the US as well as Israel.
US and Israel delegates left the UN general assembly chamber when the Iranian president Ahmadinejad rose to speak.
Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni said: We refuse to be his audience. He has no place in the community of nations. Israeli delegate Danny Gillerman said he had better things to do than listening to a ranting lunatic.
He was therefore free to lash out freely at the UN Security Council for imposing sanctions on his country and declaring the debate over its nuclear program “closed.” He said for the umpteenth time that Israel is an illegal Zionist regime.
Keren Goldwasser, wife of one of the two Israeli reservists whose abduction by Hizballah triggered the 2006 Lebanon War, was the only one to stand up to Ahmadinejad. She gate-crashed his press conference in New York Tuesday and challenged him from close up with a question: “Why don’t you let the Red Cross visit the captives?” He declined to answer and security men bundled her out.

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