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The President and Akbar Ganji
Khatami has ordered an investigation into the sheer variety of Persian dishes of which Ganji has been deprived


July 21, 2005

According to the surgeon general, President Khatami can still be said to be alive. A government source, who did not want to be named, confirmed: “It’s been eight years and our file on him is still open.”

Mr Khatami has reportedly been trying to prove that he is still sentient. His supporters claim that, far from being useless and incompetent, the president is as sharp and swift as ever, but his subservience to his Holy Excellency and keeper of the golden turban Ayatollah Khamenei has caused him to -- as he puts it -- adopt the role of pathetic fixer, yes-man and go-between. This, they say, explains his inability to put words into action and be seen as anything other than a false prophet who has trampled on people’s hopes and aspirations -- a view shared by his critics.

Khatami is nearing the end of his reign and will soon be emptying out his drawers. A source close to him, who did not want to be identified, said that all the pens he’d used to draw up plans for the reform movement were handed at some point to Mr Rafsanjani.

Last week, Khatami offered proof he was still alive by announcing he was aware of the existence of an individual called Akbar Ganji (or so he pretended). No sooner than realizing this non-political prisoner (for there are no political prisoners), was close to death, he dispatched a damning letter to international political and human rights organizations. In this letter he catalogued the food that Ganji could have had had he not been on hunger strike. The alphabetical list of Persian culinary delights, which included ice cream and sorbet for dessert, filled several pages of A4 and was sent by Khatami to the international bodies with the following message:

“Be witness to the fact that I have done everything in my power to secure the release of Akbar Ganji. I have ordered an investigation into the sheer variety of Persian dishes of which he has been deprived. The range of delicious stews and sweetmeats was such that I could no longer remain silent -- from ash-e-reshte to zereshk polo.”

Some say that the president -- to show his sense of taste, was still intact and to secure his place in history -- made sure that his letters were accompanied by the latest edition of Roza Montazemi’s Art of Cooking.

Translated by Peyvand Khorsandi

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