The Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wore a white shirt, open collar, grey blazer and grey pants. His eyes sparkled and his smile was broad. He held in his right hand an aluminum cylinder, a replica of the cylinders Iran had used to process enriched uranium. Mahmoud was holding it out in front of him, examining it, watching the shimmering reflection of the late afternoon golden sunlight that streamed through the large open window.
Mahmoud was in the office of a high level and respected Shiite cleric. The Cleric was seated behind a large oak ornate desk which was burdened with papers, and several copies of the Koran, as well as a Dell computer with a 17-inch LCD monitor. One copy of the Koran was open in front of the Cleric.
"There is no mention of nuclear energy in the Koran," said the Cleric.
"What about nuclear bombs?" asked Mahmoud.
"There are references to a time of doom, a time of destruction, but nothing specific to a bomb, much less a nuclear bomb," said the Cleric.
"There has to be a reason why our great Nation of Iran, the home of the Shia, the true bearers of truth of the Prophet Muhammad, have come upon this enormous power," said Mahmoud as he held up the aluminum cylinder.
"Pakistan is filled with Sunni scum who have developed several nuclear weapons before our Great Nation of Iran. Given that, I do not think such matters are divinely inspired or predicted," said the Cleric. "And consider our Fatwa, Mahmoud," said the Cleric.
"The Fatwa is that Islam is not to use a nuclear weapon, but I think it can be read to mean that we are not to use a nuclear weapon for aggression. We can certainly use it for defensive purposes," said Mahmoud.
"That would require clarification," said the Cleric.
"Clarification is not necessary. It would only tie my hands. Let me proceed with my interpretation. If clarification becomes necessary, then you and the Council can so decide," said Mahmoud. "But let me point out that my use of the word 'defensive' is broad. Defense in anticipation of attack, either against our Great Nation or our Great Religion, would be permitted," said Mahmoud, somewhat fishing for tacit support.
"I have no current opinion on that matter. But I do not necessarily disagree," said the Cleric.
Mahmoud was happy. He had gotten some wiggle room. He had gotten what he wanted. But he still was hoping for more.
'I think you should rethink the power of what I hold in my hand, what this means to us, to the Shia,' said Mahmoud as he waved the aluminum cylinder. "I believe in my heart that the Koran suggests this awesome power, I believe that the Koran has given this power to us, to the Iranians, so that we can once and forever prove to the Sunni scum and to the world that the Shia are the rightful heirs to the Prophet Muhammad. This nuclear power is something to worship, it is something to kneel before, pray to. This power makes Mecca irrelevant. Here, to Iran, is where the Haj should be, not in the House of Saud. This power has been given to us by the Prophet. It is a gift from Allah," said Mahmoud.
The Cleric adjusted himself in the chair. He felt uncomfortable with the President's passion and obsession with uranium and nuclear power. But the President had the nation's ear, indeed, the world was listening to this young President, and his power was growing daily. Now with the bomb at the end of Mahmoud's rainbow, Mahmoud felt even more emboldened.
'There are some Koranic verses that might be suggestive of the hidden power of nature,' said the Cleric.
'Good. Good. Find them for me,' said Mahmoud as he placed the cylinder on the Cleric's desk. 'That beautiful aluminum cylinder is for you to ponder, it inspires, and it will assist you in your research,' said Mahmoud as he turned and walked out of the room.
The Cleric touched the aluminum cylinder. A breeze from the open window blew in and turned a page in the open Koran that sat in front of the Cleric. The Cleric picked up the aluminum cylinder and placed it on the Koran to hold the Holy Book open to the page he had been reading. The hidden power of nature. Iranian Uranium. It sounds right. Maybe there is something there.