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What’s Ahmadinejad’s problem with Paul the Octopus?

Life can be hard for a psychic cephalopod. One day your countrymen are threatening to turn you into calamari for correctly betting against the national soccer team, the next day you’re being denounced as a symbol of western imperialism:  [T]he Iranian president accused the octopus of spreading "western propaganda and superstition." Paul was mentioned by ...

PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images

Life can be hard for a psychic cephalopod. One day your countrymen are threatening to turn you into calamari for correctly betting against the national soccer team, the next day you’re being denounced as a symbol of western imperialism: 

[T]he Iranian president accused the octopus of spreading "western propaganda and superstition." Paul was mentioned by Mr Ahmadinejad on various occasions during a speech in Tehran at the weekend.

"Those who believe in this type of thing cannot be the leaders of the global nations that aspire, like Iran, to human perfection, basing themselves in the love of all sacred values," he said.

One would think that at this point, national leaders would want to stay on Paolo’s good side.

Life can be hard for a psychic cephalopod. One day your countrymen are threatening to turn you into calamari for correctly betting against the national soccer team, the next day you’re being denounced as a symbol of western imperialism: 

[T]he Iranian president accused the octopus of spreading "western propaganda and superstition." Paul was mentioned by Mr Ahmadinejad on various occasions during a speech in Tehran at the weekend.

"Those who believe in this type of thing cannot be the leaders of the global nations that aspire, like Iran, to human perfection, basing themselves in the love of all sacred values," he said.

One would think that at this point, national leaders would want to stay on Paolo’s good side.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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