All Ahmadinejad has done is create poverty
Until President Ahmadinejad's name is mentioned Mokhtar, an Iranian labourer, stands listlessly with his friends on a street corner in a blue-collar district of south Tehran. Suddenly he grows animated. He voted enthusiastically for Mr Ahmadinejad in 2005 because he had pledged to help the poor, he says. Now he feels so disillusioned that he will never vote again. “I will not pollute myself,” he declares.
His family is suffering, Mokhtar explains. Work is scarce. The rent on his one-bedroom flat has jumped from $120 (£60) to $180 a month. Food prices are soaring. He has no health insurance, cannot afford a car and may soon have to move somewhere even cheaper. He recalls Mr Ahmadinejad's pledge to put oil money on every Iranian's dinner table. “It was precisely for that slogan that I voted for him but it didn't happen,” he says. “I'm very disappointed. All he's done is create inflation and poverty.”
Tomorrow Iran elects a new Majlis (parliament) and although the hardline President is not a candidate the results will be scrutinised to assess his chances of re-election next year.
Are they self-destructing?