IN OTHER WORDS : Acid test

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Tehran mayor who won a landslide victory in Iran’s presidential elections in June, now begins his term. The rest of the world will be watching his performance

with interest. Iran has been escalating tensions on the nuclear front. This week Iran announced plans to resume nuclear programme by removing the seals placed by the UN nuclear agency at a site where uranium is converted into a gas for enrichment. Europe, which has taken the lead in dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, responded with incoherence. European officials threatened to end talks and take the matter to the UN Security Council. But since China dislikes sanctions, any such proposal would probably run into a veto. In Tehran, Ahmadinejad has other disturbing issues awaiting his attention. For one, there’s the failing health of Akbar Ganji, a jailed journalist who is now on a hunger strike. And the judge in Ganji’s trial was killed a few days ago. Then there’s the recent arrest of Abdolfattah Soltani, a lawyer who defended Ganji and also worked with Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner. Untangling all of this will determine whether Ahmadinejad is the independent populist he claimed to be during the campaign, or just another pawn of the clerical power brokers who backed him. — The New York Times