Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his replacement as Iranian president has already been chosen by God, a local website reported Saturday.
"Friends told me, 'We are concerned about the future,'" Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with council heads in Tehran. "I told them, 'The future has already been determined. Go to work and the results will come.'
"One of them asked me, 'Who will be next?' I said, 'Don't you think God knows who's next.'"
Ahmadinejad did not name anyone specific, but according to Iranian estimates he was implying that he wants his associate Esfandiar Rahim Mashai to replace him. Mashai served as Ahmadinejad's deputy in the past, before being fired for saying that the Iranian people are friends of Israel.
Mashai currently serves as head of the president's bureau. The two are also related, as one of Ahmadinejad's sons is married to Mashai's daughter.
This isn't the first time that Ahmdinejad, a devout Shiite Muslim, predicts the political future his country. A week before the controversial presidential elections in 2009, Ahmadinejad told his people that he would win.
"I reiterated before the elections that something big was going to happen," Ahmadinejad said. "After the elections someone asked me, 'What was that big thing?' I replied, 'Is there anything bigger than this?'"
Ahmadinejad, who was the Tehran mayor and a relatively unknown figure, surprised all commentators when he won the 2005 presidential elections. Many said his victory was the result of the support he got from the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij, the paramilitary volunteer militia.
His victory in the 2009 elections sparked violent riots, the worst seen in the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, after the opposition claimed that the vote was forged by the Revolutionary Guards and Basij. Ahmadinejad rejected the claims.
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