PRESIDENT Reagan announced recently that neither Adm. John Pointdexter nor Lt. Col. Oliver North will receive a pardon. Will their trial be a witch hunt? Should they expect long person terms? A key precedent can be found in what happened to Pointdexter's and North's Iranian counterparts.
The trials in Iran have already been completed. This is no surprise considering that the Iranian judicial system dispenses with any testimony from the defense. Luckily, since a local version of Olliemania (Ali-mania) swept Iran, the Holy Court of Ayatollahs decided to break with tradition and hold a public trial. Special couriers have smuggled transcripts of this trial to the West, offering Americans a rare glimpse into the bizarre world of Persian justice. Printed below are highlights from the case, "Treacherous Infidels v. Holy State of Iran."
Witness #1: Abul Haj, arms dealer and rug merchant
District Prophet (D.P.) Mani Sadr: Could you tell the Court, Mr. Haj, how it was you came to make bargains with those scheming imperialists from that evil place in the West?
Haj: They said they were albinos from Morocco. How was I supposed to know?
D.P. Mani Sadr: Didn't you suspect something when they knew no Arabic and broke off negotiations to catch the sixth game of the NBA finals?
Haj: Look, all I cared about was that they had lots of dough and wanted to strike a deal. There's nothing in the Koran against that.
Chief Justice Ayatollah Reza Laza Meza: Haj, you're a disgrace to your religion! I order you to read from the Koran continuously for 74 hours while soaking in a vat of boiling cat intestine.
(Dragging him away kicking and screaming, the Revolutionary Guards took Haj to the Ministry for Boiling Punishments.)
Witness #3: Kazan Muhammad, accountant
D.P. Mani Sadr: Let me get this straight, when the Satan worshippers from America told you that the going rate for F-14 Tomahawk dustcovers was $28,500, you believed them?
Muhammad: The exchange rates really screwed me up.
D.P. Mani Sadr: How do you explain this: The capitalist vermin said they were sending 5000 missiles in exchange for $59, but you paid $5000 for 59 missiles?
Muhammad: My wife was cleaning the tent, and she switched the abacuses by accident.
(The Chief Justice called a recess, and Muhammad was taken outside and thrown in front of a truck.)