THE BLOG
11/20/2012 03:36 pm ET Updated Jan 20, 2013

Ahmadinejad and the Mahdi

With the election in the rearview mirror Iran is on the road ahead.

The online news and intelligence site DEBKAfile reports the Obama Administration aims to begin nuclear talks with Iran as soon as next month.

But the U.S. must change tactics.

The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is looking to acquire nuclear weapons for more than political purposes; he believes in a radical religious End Times prophecy.

Ahmadinejad has gone on record to say that his government is being led by the Twelfth Imam, otherwise known as the Mahdi. The Mahdi is a mystical figure in Islam who plays into eschatology as the predecessor to the Messiah appearing before Judgment Day.

All of this derived form ancient Zoroastrian texts that predict the world will end, well, right about now. (Zoroastrianism was founded in what is now Northern Iran.)

So while we aim logic -- political measures, economic sanctions and blistering commentary -- at Ahmadinejad, it won't stick. He is operating under the guise of another mentality altogether: religious mysticism. And the ruling ayatollahs in Iran don't like it.

Perhaps it's time to appeal to Iran's religious leaders, the ayatollahs, as well as to the Iranian people to force a change in government.

Leading Iranian clerics have criticized Ahmadinejad for saying the Mahdi leads the government. And Grand Ali Khamenei is reportedly at odds with Ahmadinejad over myriad issues -- religious invocation being one.

To be sure, the ayatollahs may seem strange bedfellows to whom to turn. But we increasingly face a common enemy in Ahmadinejad. Another recent report says Iran could obtain nuclear material to develop a nuclear weapon within two months.

Ayatollah Khamenei has dealt with the U.S. in the past: with Iran-Contra, with Conoco's billion-dollar oil contract, and more recently through rounds of talks with the State Department over Iraq.

End Times prophecy is looking to be all too real, especially with nuclear weapons attached.

Religious rulers must unite and overcome our common enemy.

Ahmadinejad's Judgment Day has come.

The nuclear talks should turn religious.

Thomas M. Kostigen is a MarketWatch columnist and New York Times bestselling author. His novel "Golden Dawn," about the confluence of Iran's nuclear smuggling and End Times prophecy, is in bookstores now.