The letter sent by 47 US senators to Iran continues to send shock waves through the political establishment. The White House has gleefully listed many US newspaper editorial boards that have roundly condemned it. About 250,000 people have signed a petition calling for the prosecution of the senators for treason. Even Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei has slammed the letter as showing the ‘disintegration’ of US politics.
Apart from the hash criticism the senators have received that have caused some of the signatories to either backtrack or make excuses for doing so and suggest that it should not be taken so seriously, the letter has also spawned a lot of humor and satire. Columnist William Saletan is the latest person to try his hand at a satirical take. He imagines what a similar letter from the Council of Guardians in Iran to the US Senate might look like and finds that, rather than being puzzled by the US system of government as the US letter suggested, they would indeed see a great similarity between the American system of government and what exists in Iran. Here is a bit of his imagined letter.
What you have described—a circle of overseers who work in perpetuity to restrain the president—is very familiar to us. Our president, like yours, is limited to two consecutive four-year terms. His powers are also severely circumscribed. He has a national security council, but he and his council do not establish our nation’s policies.
In our system, true power lies with the chamber that oversees the president. For you, this chamber is the Senate, controlled by your Republican caucus. For us, it is the Council of Guardians. Members of our council, like members of your Senate, serve six-year terms. The council may veto any legislation, which, in its judgment, violates our republic’s guiding body of law. For us, that body of law is Sharia.
Our intelligence agencies told us that in your country, the guiding document is your Constitution. Recently, however, we watched videos from your “Conservative Political Action Conference.” Several of your senators spoke there about the abomination of homosexual marriage and the importance of protecting religion. Our assessment is that your senators interpret your Constitution in accordance with the Christian Bible, just as our council applies our Constitution in the light of the Holy Quran. We particularly enjoyed the speech of your senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, who called on your government to fight for Christians abroad. This is in agreement with our own policy of coming to the aid of faithful Muslims everywhere.
We are in great admiration of Sen. Cruz. In our republic, he would be an Ayatollah Uzma. We appreciate his signature on your letter and his steadfastness in correcting your president. Many of us were dismayed to learn that Sen. Cruz was criticized in your country for withholding the government’s operating funds in order to block the implementation of a health care law. Some Americans even called the senator a hostage taker.
Thank you once again for this enlightening exchange. Prompted by your letter, our council has decided to end the talks with your secretary of state and dismiss nuclear inspectors from our country. We look forward to working with you in the future on other matters of common interest, such as prayer, capital punishment, and troops in Iraq.
Saletan’s point about how similar in thinking the current Republican party is to the theocrats that have such a strong influence in Iran is valid one and the full piece is worth reading.