Magazine | April 20, 2015, Issue

Persian Doormat

If the president wanted to give Iran nuclear weapons, how would he act differently? It’s a silly question. An executive order, obviously. No, these talks have been an attempt to show the mullahs that the bad old days of cowboy swagger are over. Surely they must think:

The United States, once so arrogant and powerful, is now a whimpering wet whelp on its back with its throat exposed, begging for an agreement. What strange newfound respect we have for them! Let us concede things that we might enter into this wonderful new concord of eunuchs.

Sure. That’s how it works. 

The treaties that endure are like agreements between old friends to play golf every Saturday, because both participants have mutual respect, similar goals, and know a little cheating is part of the game. But let’s say you want to enter into a golf treaty with someone who hates golf. Negotiations would go like this:

We’re on the same page, then. We meet every noon for golf?

Noon is the time for prayers. The unbeliever shall be cast into the pit of Ananargin, the Thrice-Beaked Scourge of Impiety, and pecked unto the end of time.

So, 1 p.m.?

Golf is a godless pursuit of earthly fame. As the Prophet said, “Chase not the small orbs, lest ye lose sight of the large orb that yea, verily, shall hit thee in the back of thine head.”

Well he might have, sure, but if you’re worried there’s a softball practice field nearby, there isn’t –

Doth not the Prophet say, “Thy sticks and clubs shall be of no use when the tribulations arrive, and the flame of truth consumes them all”?

Flame of truth? You’re thinking of those courses in Arizona where you have to play in the morning! It’s a scorcher there, I’ll tell you. So I guess I’m wondering what you want.

We want your cries to be lost in the ceaseless din of perdition as despair engulfs all you have known, and your kingdom passes from this earth into the realm of darkness and eternal torment.

Oh, you want to play Meadow Pines, eh? That back nine will bring a strong man to his knees.

You get the idea that the other side really doesn’t want to play golf. Likewise, in our current dealings with Iran, you sense the president believes Iran would be wholly dismayed if all those nuclear things somehow got jostled and accidentally formed a nuclear bomb because that is so not the idea. Or the president doesn’t care as long as Iran announces the completion of the Amazing Jew Reducer on his watch. As for those ICBMs? Hey, they could just be testing a way of relocating minarets. Worst-case scenario, you’ll never have a two-state solution, because both the East and the West Bank will be one solid fused sheet of glass. But that’s for President Hillary to worry about.

But back to the hard-nosed, bare-knuckle Iranian negotiations. Leaked reports from behind the scenes say tempers, longstanding suspicions, and mutually inconsistent worldviews have come close to derailing the deal, and that would be good news if we weren’t talking about the U.S. vs. France. When it comes to getting a deal with perfidious Persia, it seems there’s no posture of acquiescence the administration will not assume. Bowing down with one’s forehead on the floor is a good start, but perhaps if we turned around it would be a more accurate reflection of our position in this relationship.

Surely we must get something out of this when it’s done. At least cab fare on the nightstand, right? Maybe an expression of compassion and concern when the Iranian negotiator leaves the room after the signing and says, “Better put some ice on that.” Turns out we do get something in return for letting Iran give us the illusion that we are managing its nuclear timetable.

1. Weekly chants of “Death to America” changed for a month to “Serious head injury to America resulting in 48-hour stay in hospital for observation, followed by discharge and therapy.” The State Department agrees to provide printed phonetic guides to help the crowds chant this new line successfully. (“Death to Israel” chant changed to “Extra death to Israel,” to compensate.) Should the Iranian government refuse to allow inspections of nuclear facilities, the crowds will be required to chant for two weeks “Momentarily painful paper cuts to America, of the type one gets when licking an envelope.”

2. At least 20 homosexuals facing the death penalty will be given the option of leaving Iran and relocating to the United States, but they will be warned that they may end up in Indiana and subject to bakery/decoration restrictions.

3. Since previous insistences that Iran not fund suicide attacks were predicated on the “cross my heart and hope to die” protocols, which in retrospect did not seem quite as strict as believed, from now on Iran will “pinky swear” not to commit acts of terror abroad. This is no small diplomatic triumph. Early in the negotiations, the U.S. presented Iran with evidence that several hundred Revolutionary Guards were stepping on cracks in an attempt to “break the backs” of mothers in the West. Iran insisted that these crack-treading operations were intended to be therapeutic exercises for the spinal health of domestic mothers.

Under the new guidelines, Iran will be allowed 400 underground facilities with 6,000 cracks subject to international inspection, provided that six months’ notice is given.

Note: Under terms of the deal, “inspection” consists of waiting outside in the car while someone runs in and knocks on the door. If no one answers, they can try again in six months.

– Mr. Lileks blogs at

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