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‘Death to America! Death to Israel!’ chants ring out at Raisi’s funeral

Hamas and Hezbollah—part of the "Axis of Resistance" against Israel— expressed their condolences at the ceremony for the "Butcher of Tehran."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (center) and and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attend a meeting in Tehran of the guarantor states of the Astana process, July 19, 2022. Credit: TASS.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (center) and and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attend a meeting in Tehran of the guarantor states of the Astana process, July 19, 2022. Credit: TASS.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei oversaw a memorial service at Tehran University on Wednesday to honor President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and others killed in a recent helicopter crash.

“Oh Allah, we didn’t see anything but good from him [Raisi],” Khamenei said in the standard prayer for the dead in Arabic.

Iran’s acting president, Mohammad Mokhber, stood nearby and openly wept during the service. People then carried the coffins out on their shoulders, chanting, “Death to America!” followed by a crowd estimated in the tens of thousands participating in a procession through Tehran, following the caskets.

Among those present were top leaders of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, one of the country’s major power centers. Also in attendance were leaders of terrorist groups backed by Iran—Naim Qassem, the deputy leader of Hezbollah, and Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, which has received arms and support from Iran during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Before the funeral, Haniyeh spoke to the crowd and said, “I come in the name of the Palestinian people, in the name of the resistance factions of Gaza … to express our condolences,” and an emcee led the crowd in chanting “Death to Israel!”

Haniyeh recounted meeting Raisi in Tehran during Ramadan and described him calling the Oct. 7 attack that sparked the war, which saw some 1,200 people killed and 252 others taken hostage, an “earthquake in the heart of the Zionist entity.”

Moscow, Iran’s close ally, sent Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the State Duma lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, to attend the funeral. 

Raisi, 63, was elected president at the second attempt in 2021, and since taking office ordered a tightening of morality laws and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers. He had earned the chilling moniker “Butcher of Tehran” for his involvement in the execution of thousands of Iranian protesters during the 1980s, casting a dark shadow over his presidential legacy.

Raisi’s tenure as president was further marred by widespread protests against the oppressive Iranian regime, sparked by the tragic death of Mahsa Amini in 2022. Amini, a Kurdish woman arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly, died in police custody, igniting nationwide demonstrations.

Authorities ruthlessly suppressed these protests, resulting in at least 551 deaths and tens of thousands of arrests. Many saw Raisi as burnishing his credentials to become Khamenei’s successor as Iran’s supreme leader.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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