Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Early Life

Early Life

Ahmadinejad was born near Garmsar in the village of Aradan, in Semnan province. His father, Ahmad, was an ironworker, grocer, barber, blacksmith and religious Shia who taught the Quran. His mother, Khanom, was a Sayyida, an honorific title given to those believed to be direct bloodline descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Ahmadinejad's father changed his name from "Saborjhian" or "Sabaghian" when Ahmadinejad was four years old to avoid discrimination when the family moved to Tehran. Sabor is Persian for thread painter, a once common occupation within the Semnan carpet industry. Ahmadinejad was chosen as it means from the race of Ahmad, one of the names given to Muhammad.

In 1976, Ahmadinejad took Iran's national university entrance contests. According to his autobiography, he was ranked 132nd out of 400,000 participants that year, and soon enrolled in the Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) as an undergraduate student of civil engineering. He earned his PhD (1997) in transportation engineering and planning from Iran University of Science and Technology, located at Tehran, when he was the Mayor of Ardabil Province, located at the north-west of the country.

Supporters of Ahmadinejad consider him a "simple man" who leads a "modest" life. As president, he wanted to continue living in the same house in Tehran his family had been living in until his security advisers insisted that he should move. Ahmadinejad had the antique Persian carpets in the Presidential palace sent to a carpet museum, and opted instead to use inexpensive carpets. He is said to have refused the V.I.P. seat on the Presidential plane, and that he eventually replaced it with a cargo plane instead. Also upon gaining Iran's presidency, Ahmadinejad held his first cabinet meeting in the Imam Reza shrine at Mashhad, an act perceived as "pious".

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