Is there no end to the evils of the Great Satan?
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has claimed the United States is trying to arrest the Shia Muslim messiah, known as the "Hidden Imam," in bizarre speech to his supporters Monday.
In comments made to a group of clerics, which were posted by his supporters on the Dolatebahar.com website, Ahmadinejad claimed the US was putting an intense effort into capturing the Hidden Imam, whose imminent return is expected by followers of the so-called Twelver Shia sect of which the former president is a member.
"They've done so much research about the Hidden Imam in the human science universities of the United States that I am not exaggerating by saying that it is a thousand times more than all the work done in the seminaries of Qom, Najaf, and Mashhad," he told supporters, according to a translation by Radio Free Europe, referring to three Shia holy cities in Iran and Iraq.
According to Twelver Shias the "Hidden Imam" is the "Mahdi" - the Muslim messiah - and the twelfth in a series of Shia religious figures born in the 9th century, who will return to earth along with Jesus to redeem mankind. Other Muslims, including most Shias, believe the Mahdi has not been born yet.
"To quote a friend, they've completed a case against the Hidden Imam, and closed it also for his arrest," he said of the US, accusing the "evil" American government of fearing that the Imam's return would end its "empire."
"It is really a government established by Satan to prevent reaching God and the Hidden Imam... This evil government knows that its end will come if the Hidden Imam reappears," he railed.
But it appears the Hidden Imam still has something of an edge over US intelligence services, since according to Ahmadinejad "the only [evidence] they lack is his picture" - an crucial piece of evidence no doubt.
Ahmadinejad warned those gathered not to be complacent, though he admitted that many people "laugh about these comments."