Raisi v. Satan: The Case for Relocation (A Satire)

The following is a work of satire. What else could it be?
May 29, 2024
salt/Getty Images; Mehr News Agency under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

The following is a work of satire. What else could it be? Jews do not believe in the Christian version of hell. But we did introduce the world to the concept of an angel named Satan, who is both an instigator of evil, as well as an accuser of wrongdoing in the heavenly court.

I, for one, never thought that someone as powerful as Ebrahim Raisi would meet his end in a remote mountaintop filled with ravenous animals.

As for the subject matter, I, for one, never thought that someone as powerful as Ebrahim Raisi would meet his end in a remote mountaintop filled with ravenous animals. My only hope for readers is that some of the humor below lands well. 

May 19, 2024 (Gregorian calendar)
11 Iyar 5784 (Jewish calendar)
30 Ordibehesht 1403 (Persian calendar)
Somewhere in purgatory (Gehinnom):

Bailiff: Please rise. The Court of the Gehinnom Judicial Circuit, Criminal Division, is now in session, the Honorable Judge G-d presiding.

G-d: Everyone may be seated. Bailiff, since there is no jury but me today, please swear me in. 


G-d: Bailiff?


G-d: For heaven’s sake, Doug! Please pay attention!

Bailiff: Forgive me, Your Honor. I didn’t think I would see Mr. Raisi here so soon. It’s a lot to take in. 

G-d: I know, but please focus. 

Bailiff (to G-d): Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will truly listen to this case and render a true verdict and a fair sentence as to this defendant?

G-d: That’s it? You don’t even invoke my name anymore when swearing in someone? I’ve waited years for a case like this and I don’t even get to swear to myself?

Bailiff: I’m sorry. It’s the progressives, Your Honor. You may be seated. Today’s case is Satan versus Ebrahim Raisi. Case number 1366-1988.

G-d: Is the prosecution ready?

Satan: Yes, your Honor. I will be representing myself. 

G-d: Is the defense ready?

Ebrahim Raisi: Uh, I’m not—

G-d: Pardon?

Raisi: I’m sorry. I’m not sure what’s happening. I was flying in one of those helicopters and the next thing I knew, I was being pulled down here. May I ask a question?

G-d: Proceed. 

Raisi: Where are the virgins?

G-d: No one explained any of this to you? Bailiff, why was the defendant not properly briefed?

Bailiff: There was no time, your Honor. Satan saw him heading toward hell and immediately demanded a hearing. 

G-d: In that case, the prosecution may offer its opening statements. 

Satan: Your Honor, my name is, well, l don’t have to tell you! I am representing hell in this case. I intend to ensure that Mr. Raisi is not allowed into a specific layer of hell and instead, that he be relocated somewhere else. Thank you. 

G-d: The defense may offer its opening statements.

Raisi: Uh, your Honor, my name is Ebrahim Raisolsadati, also known as [former] Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. And I don’t know where else to go, so in the words of millions of Iranians who despised me, I guess I’m here to be granted permission to go to hell. 

G-d: Prosecution, you may call your first witness. 

Bailiff (whispering): Your Honor, there are no witnesses. Satan has a tennis match with Mao Zedong in 15 minutes and just wants a quick verdict. 

Satan: Your Honor, I only need five minutes. If I may speak, here’s how it all happened: I was working on a new hummus recipe (because my introduction of chocolate hummus to the world a few years ago really took off) when Sergio ran into my office and started screaming, “The Butcher of Tehran is here! The Butcher is here!”

G-d: Who is Sergio?

Satan: He’s my new chief-of-staff. I had to fire the old one because he kept forwarding me messages from recently-arrived Hamas members who were [also] asking incessantly about virgins. 

G-d: You fired Harry? That’s too bad. I liked him. He always said, “G-d bless you” whenever I sneezed and I always responded, “I will!”

Satan: Well, he’s gone. As I was saying, Sergio came in screaming like all hell’s broken loose. I haven’t heard anyone scream like that since Saddam Hussein arrived in 2006. And Sergio started yelping about “The Butcher” —

Raisi: Objection, your Honor. I ask that “Butcher” be stricken from the record.

G-d: Wasn’t that your nickname among many Iranians?

Satan: Yes, your Honor! Yes, it was. His regime is the world’s number one state sponsor of terror! You can’t even imagine the low-lives he collaborated with on earth. 

And he was nicknamed “The Butcher of Iran” because he and his cronies killed tens of thousands of political prisoners in a few months. He ordered the deaths of so many people that prisoners were loaded onto forklift trucks — six-by-six — and every 30 minutes, hanged by cranes! I remember watching it all from hell back in ’88 and gasping.

Raisi: Objection!

G-d: On what grounds?

Raisi: Yes, they were hung in 30-minute intervals, but I really don’t remember using so many cranes. 

G-d: I’ll allow it. Prosecution, please proceed. And help me understand something: What, exactly, are you seeking here today?

Satan: Your Honor, it’s simple: We haven’t had someone this evil in hell in a long time. This guy wants to enter L1 (Level 1) of hell, but that’s utterly impossible. 

G-d: Why?

Satan: He’s too evil! He’s an L8 (at least)! If he enters L1, he’ll contaminate all the normies!

G-d: The normies?

Satan: Yes, the ones who come down to hell for your run-of-the-mill stuff. You know, like petty theft, lying under oath or continuing to make “Ghostbusters” sequels. I can’t have a guy like Raisi in L1! It tarnishes the whole concept of justice in the afterlife. Pretty soon, L9s and L10s will be demanding to be relocated to upper floors for gentler punishments. 

G-d: But you’re Satan. 

Satan (smiling devilishly and filing his nails with a nail file): I know.

G-d: Why don’t you just relocate him to L8 yourself?

Satan (sighing): I can’t anymore. 

G-d: The progressives?

Satan: Yes.

G-d: I see. It is therefore the verdict of this court to sentence Ebrahim Raisi to an eternity in L—

Raisi: Your Honor, may I say something?

G-d: Proceed. 

Raisi: I don’t really want to go to L1; I know I belong in L8, as Satan is requesting. 

G-d: Then why are you arguing your case before me?

Raisi: Look, I didn’t want to say it, but I really don’t want to go to the worst levels of hell because I hear that’s where all of the world’s most murderous dictators are sent. 

Satan: What’s wrong with that? I should think you would want to be taken more seriously.

Raisi: I know. But don’t you remember that old saying? Never meet your heroes.

Tabby Refael is an award-winning writer, speaker and weekly columnist for The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Follow her on X and Instagram @TabbyRefael.

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