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UN tributes to ‘butcher’ Raisi draw ire of Israeli envoy

The Security Council held a moment of silence for the "Butcher of Tehran," by whose death the U.N. chief was “saddened.”

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres (right) meets with Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in New York, April 18, 2024  Credit: Evan Schneider/U.N. Photo.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres (right) meets with Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in New York, April 18, 2024 Credit: Evan Schneider/U.N. Photo.

The United Nations honored the Butcher of Tehran on Monday with a moment of silence and a statement of sadness, eliciting furious response from Israel supporters.

A day after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash, Russia, China and Algeria called for a moment of silence in the chamber of the U.N. Security Council to honor a man widely recognized as having participated in untold human rights abuses, including the execution of thousands of political dissidents.

Celebrations of Raisi’s death both in Iran and by Iranians living abroad were widely reported. In addition to his role overseeing mass executions, Raisi more recently led a brutal crackdown on street protestors and on women defying Iran’s Islamic rules on the wearing of a hijab, or head covering, and other so-called modesty laws. 

Inexplicably, Robert Wood, deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, stood, as well, with the State Department he represents offering “official condolences” over the deaths of Raisi, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and others. Raisi led a government which Washington said is intent on assassinating former American officials and attempting a kidnapping of at least one Iranian expat in the United States.

“What a disgrace,” said Gilad Erdan, Israel’s U.N. envoy, in response to the tribute to Raisi, who “is responsible for the murder of thousands.”

“What is next for the Security Council?” asked Erdan. “A moment of silence on the anniversary of Hitler’s death?”

A statement issued on behalf of Antonio Guterres said the U.N. secretary-general was “saddened by the deaths of Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian and their colleagues.

Questioned by JNS at Monday’s press briefing on why Guterres would be saddened by Raisi’s death, given his notorious abuses, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that Guterres, “through his reports on human rights in Iran, through the words that he said himself, through what I’ve said here, has never been shy about expressing his deep concerns about the human rights situation in Iran, notably on the issues of women. I mean, those words are very clear. They’re in black and white, and they stand.”

Dujarric added that those issues don’t stop Guterres “from expressing condolences when the head of state of a member state of this organization, and a foreign minister, with whom he met regularly, who was here in New York a few weeks ago, dies in a helicopter crash.”

Asked why Guterres’ statement went beyond the standard, impersonal condolences generally practiced in diplomacy and more toward seemingly personal feelings for Raisi, Dujarric said that “to be saddened by the death of the head of state does not mean that he doesn’t stand by everything he said about the issue of human rights in Iran.”

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