In a summer already full of high strangeness, here’s a name you probably haven’t heard for a while: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The former Iranian President is back in the news this week in one of the more unexpected ways imaginable. He’d like President Barack Obama to do him a favor in the form of straightening out the Supreme Court and essentially reversing one of their decisions. He’s referring to the April ruling which allows the families of victims of Iranian sponsored terrorism to tap into $1.75B in frozen Iranian assets as compensation for their losses. His appeal to President Obama is nothing if not reasonable, at least from the Iranian point of view. (Fox News)
“It is the clear expectation of the Iranian nation that the particular case of property seizure … be quickly fixed by your excellency and that not only the Iranian nation’s rights be restored and the seized property released and returned, but also the damaged caused be fully compensated for,” the letter said.
“I passionately advise you not to let the historical defamation and bitter incident be recorded under your name,” Ahmadinejad added.
What is this Iranian madman thinking? Does he honestly believe that the President of the United States can simply ignore the will of the Supreme Court and institute executive orders which toss the rule of law on its ear? Is he under the impression that Obama can simply reorganize the American governmental system to suit his own whims and institute mandates which…
Well, okay. Given recent events, we might forgive him for thinking that I suppose, but that’s still not supposed to be how any of this works.
All joking aside, I seriously doubt that Ahmadinejad is ignorant enough to think this could happen, so what’s going on here? As the AP report confirms, Iran has political intrigue built into the system much the same as we do in the United States. True, their president has very little actual power and everything he does is under the thumb of the Supreme Leader, but that doesn’t mean their politicians don’t have ambitions of their own. Ahmadinejad was “term limited” to eight years in office, but their laws allow him to run for office again after a four year break. That opportunity is looming so perhaps he’s preparing to get back in the ring.
More interesting is the speculation that, “average Iranians largely have yet to see the benefits of Iran’s nuclear deal.” If the deal is unpopular there with rank and file Iranian citizens it doesn’t translate into good news for the west. The deal was worked out by Iranian leaders perceived as “moderates” and could signal a willingness to return to a more hard line stance. I doubt that would have any significant impact on their relationship with the west, but it might be fun to have Mahmoud back in office for a while. The guy was always good for some interesting headlines and he probably still has a lot of “Death to America” bumper stickers that he needs to unload.