Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Persian: محمود احمدینژاد Mahmūd Ahmadinezhād ( listen), English: /ɑːkməˈdɪnɨʒɒd/; born 28 October 1956) is the sixth and current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the main political leader of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, a coalition of conservative political groups in the country. An engineer and teacher from a poor background, Ahmadinejad joined the Office for Strengthening Unity after the Islamic Revolution. Appointed a provincial governor, he was removed after the election of President Mohammad Khatami and returned to teaching. Tehran's council elected him mayor in 2003. He took a religious hard line, reversing reforms of previous moderate mayors. His 2005 presidential campaign, supported by the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, garnered 62% of the runoff election votes, and he became President on 3 August 2005.
Ahmadinejad is a controversial figure both within Iran and internationally. He has been criticized domestically for his economic lapses and disregard for human rights. He launched a gas rationing plan in 2007 to reduce the country's fuel consumption, and cut the interest rates that private and public banking facilities could charge. He supports Iran's nuclear energy program. His election to a second term in 2009 was widely disputed and caused widespread protests domestically and drew significant international criticism. In 2011 the presence of a so-called "deviant current" among his aides and supporters led to the arrest of several of them.
Ahmadinejad was born near Garmsar in the village of Aradan, in Semnan province. His father, Ahmad, was an ironworker, grocer, barber, blacksmith and religious Shi'a who taught the Qur'an. His mother, Khanom, was a Seyyede, an honorific title given to those believed to be direct bloodline descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Ahmadinejad's father changed his name from "Sabourjian" or "Sabaghian" when Ahmadinejad was four years old to avoid discrimination when the family moved to Tehran, as the rural name indicated a lowly social standing. 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.