Former State Department official Hillary Mann Leverett said on MSNBC’s “The Cycle” that Iran had been “caricatured” as a crazy Islamic dictatorship, when really its political system is as “profound” as the United States, and the Ayatollah is kind of like Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. (REPORT: Obama Plans To Make Iran His Key Middle East Ally)
HOST TOURE NEBLETT: Hillary, I think it’s valuable and important to point out to Americans the folks that we’re talking to on the other side from Tehran are sophisticated, many are American-educated as you just said. Many Americans would say, aren’t they taking orders and reporting back to the Ayatollah?
LEVERETT: You know, it’s a very interesting system. It’s, again, been caricatured in the United States for so long as this kind of crazed Islamist dictatorship when in fact it’s a political experiment, I think as profound as perhaps the American system or the French system, trying to fuse Islamism with participatory politics.
Ayatollah Khamenei is in a sense like our Supreme Court justice: he has the final say, but he also does that not just in a legal way, but in a political way. Underneath him, there are very much empowered parts of the system, not just a president but parliament, armed forces, just like the way our Pentagon often as a say in terms of budget and policy, theirs does too.
And so it is a much more nuanced sophisticated system. And in a lot of ways it gives it real power, not just at the negotiating table, but what we see in the region in terms of its influence beyond its borders.
HOST ARI MEBER: I think some might take exception to the comparison of the Ayatollah to a sort of a Chief Justice John Roberts. I know what you mean, because they have a system. On the other hand, I think it’s fair to point out our Supreme Court is still appointed within our political system, answerable to it, and removable even. I don’t know if anyone over there can peacefully remove the Ayatollah.
[h/t Washington Free Beacon]