Speaking on BBC World Service, Carnegie’s Karim Sadjadpour reflected on the legacy of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Sadjadpour explained that although Ahmadinejad wasn’t Iran’s most powerful man, his denial of the Holocaust forced Western journalists to learn how to pronounce his name. Though reviled in the West, he noted that Ahmadinejad was popular among the pious working class outside of Iran, who admired his willingness to defy America and Israel. Ahmadinejad presided over the greatest oil windfall in the Iran’s history, but during his presidency, Iran’s inflation rate doubled and its currency depreciated over 80 percent under his custodianship. Over time, Ahmadinejad’s mismanagement and abrasive style lost him supporters and political allies, but his boastfulness never faltered, Sadjadpour concluded.

This interview was originally aired on BBC World Service.