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.)
Witness #7: Akeem, taxi driver (One of the more infamous episodes in this scandal occurred when former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane went on a secret mission to Iran, bringing with him a cake and a bible for the Ayatollah. The question in Iran was, who ate the cake? The Holy Court spent days trying to determine the culprit--following what the Tehran newspapers gleefully called "The Trail of Crumbs"--until the investigations led to Akeem, the person who drove McFarlane to the airport.)
D.P. Mani Sadr: So what did the devil say to you when he gave you the cake.
Akeem: He said, "Who would have thought that Khomeni is watching his weight?"
D.P. Mani Sadr: And you took the cake?
Akeem: Well, the tourist trade was pretty slow then, and since the Revolution, there just haven't been any good bakeries in the city.
(The Chief Justice sentenced Akeem to be maimed with a blunt kitchen instrument, the limb to be named later.)
Witness #14: Ali Jawani, special assistant to the Ayatollah for Anti-American affairs
D.P. Mani-Sadr: Did the Ayatollah know and approve of your dealings with the Great Satan?
Ali: He was busy praying for a plague of locusts to descend on the Soviet Union. I didn't want to disturb him.
D.P. Mani Sadr: For two years?
Ali: It takes a lot of locusts to eat Siberia.
D.P. Mani Sadr: Ali, how could you do it? How could you make concessions to the American devils?
Ali: Sir, I resent that. I hate Americans as much as anybody. You just don't understand. At the time, I thought we could get arms from the Americans and then use them to slaughter thousands of innocent Iraqis; it just seemed like a neat idea.
Chief Justice Ayatollah Reza Laza Meza: Young man, we do not have the reputation as the most hateful nation on earth for nothing. The world expects us to bomb and maim, not to get ripped off by a bunch of satanic Americans. I sentence you to three years of hard labor pulling the food out of Khomeni's beard. In addition, I declare a national week of prayer. During this holy period, I would also encourage citizens to spit on pictures of the new Head Satan, George Bush.
Before the supporters of Pointdexter and North become too disheartened, it should be pointed out that Iranian experts hailed the Holy Court's decisions as moderate and progressive. Boiled cat intestine in their judicial system is probably the American equivalent of a one year suspended sentence at the Betty Ford Clinic. Besides Pointdexter and North still have one great advantage over their Iranian counterparts: There is no lecture circuit in Iran.