"Today, we should define our economic, cultural and political policies based on the policy of Imam Mahdi's return."
-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Does the government of Iran actually want war with Israel so that the Mahdi can return? As insane as that sounds, the truth is that the vast majority of people in the United States and Europe simply do not understand how absolutely obsessed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and others in the Iranian government are with their form of radical Islam and with the return of the Mahdi. It surprises many to learn that Iran's official state websites are filled with information about the Mahdi. In fact, Ahmadinejad actually believes that he was born to be "the great jihadist" that would prepare the way for the twelfth Imam. But in order for the Mahdi to return, the belief is that there must first be a great cataclysmic event. So is Iran's nuclear weapons program designed to facilitate this cataclysmic event and hasten the return of the Mahdi?
That seems to be the most rational explanation for Iran's current behavior. The government of Iran knows that Israel and the United States will never let them develop nuclear weapons and will go to war if necessary to prevent Iran from getting them.
But they seem bound and determined to get nuclear weapons anyway.
In fact, Iran just announced that it plans to start constructing two new uranium enrichment facilities next month in the heart of the Iranian mountains.
But doesn't the Iranian leadership fear a war with the United States and Israel?
Perhaps the Iranian government should, but they understand that if the United States and/or Israel strike first, they will be viewed as the aggressors by the rest of the globe. World opinion would swing dramatically in favor of Iran.
But that is only part of the equation.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and others among the Iranian leadership also believe that they are setting up the great cataclysm which will bring about the return of the Mahdi. Many of them seem perfectly willing to die in order to fulfill this purpose.
During a speech in Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly stated that his primary purpose in life is to "pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance."
So just who is this "Mahdi" supposed to be?
According to Wikipedia, Shi'ite Muslims "believe that the Mahdi is the Twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, the Twelfth and last Imam, who was born in 868 AD and was hidden by God at the age of five." It is believed that the Mahdi will one day return during a very cataclysmic time in human history and will establish the rule of Islam around the world in the last days.
So now, many of those in the Islamic world who believe in the Mahdi are looking for that cataclysmic event to occur.
For example, AwaitedMahdi.com states that the "Last Hour" will not come "unless the Muslims fight against the Jews".
Ariel Sharon understood these radical Islamic beliefs very well. Sharon is quoted as saying the following about Iran's obsession with the Mahdi....
"How will they bring him? Through an apocalypse. He (the Mahdi) needs a war. He cannot come into this world without an Armageddon. He wants an Armageddon. The earlier we understand this the better. Ahmadinejad wants nuclear weapons for this!"
So was Sharon just exaggerating when he said this?
Not at all.
In fact, check out the following quote from Ahmadinejad about how he believes that the United States is actively trying to prevent the return of the Mahdi....
"They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation is the one that will prepare the grounds for his coming and will be the supporters of his rule".
Most Americans and Europeans simply cannot conceive of a government that makes all major decisions based on an obsession with religion, but that is exactly what is going on in Iran. The government of Iran believes that the Mahdi is really going to return and that they are the ones who are going to pave the way for it to happen.
Meanwhile, Israel continues to prepare for war. Israel's air force has introduced a fleet of huge pilotless planes that can remain in the air for a full day and could fly as far as the Persian Gulf. In fact, each one of these "super drones" is reportedly as wide as a Boeing 737.
Israel's government understands what is happening in Iran and they know that a showdown is on the horizon.
Iran continues to recklessly pursue a nuclear program as Israel continues to prepare to neutralize it. It appears as though it is more likely than ever that war between Israel and Iran is inevitable. Let us pray that war can be averted if possible, and if not, that God's will be done.
"We must prepare ourselves to rule the world and the only way to do that is to put forth views on the basis of the Expectation of the Return."
-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad