Conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes office as Iran's new president on Wednesday, August 3, 2005, when the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved his appointment.
Ahmadinejad, a 48-year-old former mayor of Tehran, embodies the values of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. He won a landslide victory in the country's ninth presidential election in June, beating strong rivals including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
He is considered a representative of the country's ultra-conservatives and a close disciple of Khamenei.
Ahmadinejad was born into a blacksmith family in 1956 in countryside to the southeast of Tehran.
At 19, he began his studies at Tehran Industry and Technology University. After earning his undergraduate degree, he twice returned to the University and was awarded a PhD in transportation engineering in 1997.
He began his political career as consultant to the mayor of the southwestern city Shahr Kord after completing his undergraduate studies in late 1970s.
During the 1980-1988 war against Iraq, Ahmadinejad spent several years in the armed forces. He categorically denies rumors that he used to work as a secret agent during this period of time.
Ahmadinejad was later appointed mayor of the northwestern city of Maku bordering Turkey. In late 1990s, he became governor of the northwestern province of Ardabil, a post that won him the honor of "Model Governor" for three consecutive years. Then he was appointed to be chief of the special forces of the hardline Revolutionary Guards.
Ahmadinejad was elected mayor of Tehran in 2003. During his term, he improved traffic conditions and stabilized prices in the sprawling and polluted capital city, for which he earned a good reputation.
Due to his family background, Ahmadinejad leads a simple life. He often takes a home-made lunch to the office and lives in an ordinary apartment. Because of these populist habits, Ahmadinejad is enthusiastically supported by the country's lower classes.
As well, he has the support of hardline religious Iranians due to his conservative politic views. Ahmadinejad has said that he is against any compromise on the issue of Iran's nuclear program and will not move towards warming relations with the United States.
Domestically, Ahmadinejad has made efforts to restore fundamentalist Islamic laws to the country, which makes him very unpopular among the more liberal people in the country.