In a dusty brown village outside this Shiite holy city, a once-humble yellow-brick mosque is undergoing a furious expansion. Cranes hover over two soaring concrete minarets and the pointed arches of a vast new enclosure. Buses pour into a freshly asphalted parking lot to deliver waves of pilgrims.The expansion is driven by an apocalyptic vision: that Shiite Islam's long-hidden 12th Imam, or Mahdi, will soon emerge — possibly at the mosque of Jamkaran — to inaugurate the end of the world. The man who provided $20 million to prepare the shrine for that moment, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has reportedly told his cabinet that he expects the Mahdi to arrive within the next two years. Mehdi Karrubi, a rival cleric, has reported that Ahmadinejad ordered that his government's platform be deposited in a well at Jamkaran where the faithful leave messages for the hidden imam.

See Jackson Diehl's full column here.  So perhaps the maneuvering is not just about money, as I had theorized.  It is about money for a big fat Iranian Apocalypse shin-dig. 

Advertisements