Biden State Dept. Sends Iran Condolences Over Death of “Butcher of Iran”

Biden State Dept. Sends Iran Condolences Over Death of “Butcher of Iran”

The US State Department on Monday sent condolences to the government of Iran, expressing grief over the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and the other members of their delegation killed in a helicopter crash over the weekend.

“As Iran selects a new president, we reaffirm our support for the Iranian people and their struggle for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

 Miller admitted that Raisi was a “brutal participant in the repression of the Iranian people for nearly four decades.”

“Some of the worst human rights abuses occurred during his tenure as president,” Miller said, adding a note that hinted at the warm relationship between the Islamist regime and the current US administration.

“I’m not going to get into the details, but we were asked by the Iranian government for assistance,” he told reporters. He noted that despite Iran being the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, the Biden administration was willing to aid in the search for Raisi but was unable to do so “largely for logistical reasons.”

Despite the condolences, former Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on state television that the United States was “one of the main culprits” in the crash due to sanctions that affected Iranian aviation.

Raisi was aboard a U.S.-made Bell 212 helicopter with five others as part of a convoy of 3 helicopters passing through Iran’s East Azerbaijan province during inclement rain and fog weather when the aircraft disappeared.

An Israeli official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters it was not involved in the crash.

Leaders from around the world rushed to mourn the death of the man dubbed “the Butcher of Tehran.” The US joined Russia, China, and Algeria in requesting a moment of silence on Monday. Israeli U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan called the moment of silence in memory of “mass murdering” Raisi a “disgrace.”

This Council, Erdan said, “bowed its head for a man responsible for massacring and murdering thousands in Iran, in Israel, and around the globe. What’s next? Will the Council dedicate a moment of silence to commemorate Hitler?” 

 Charles Michel, the head of the European Union and its foreign policy chief, echoed the Biden administration’s condolences.

“The EU expresses its sincere condolences for the death of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Abdollahian, as well as other members of their delegation and crew in a helicopter accident,” Michel tweeted. “Our thoughts go to the families.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrel also offered his condolences over Raisi’s death.

“The European Union offers its condolences for the death of President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdollahian and other Iranian officials involved in the tragic helicopter crash on Sunday,” Borrel’s office said in a statement. “The EU expresses its sympathies to the families of all the victims and to the Iranian citizens affected.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Raisi “a true friend of Russia.” The Kremlin said he had spoken to Mokhber by phone, and both stressed their “mutual intention to further strengthen Russian-Iranian interaction.”

Hamas mourned Raisi’s death, offering “deepest condolences” like the Biden State Department, for “this immense loss.” The terrorist organization praised Raisi for supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance against Israel and expressed confidence that Iran’s “deep-rooted institutions” will enable it to overcome “the repercussions of this great loss.”

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister called Kani to express condolences and reiterated Saudi’s support for Iran.

On the morning of the helicopter crash, Raisi reiterated Iran’s solidarity with Palestinians, saying “Palestine is the first issue of the Muslim world.”

Raisi was dubbed “the butcher of Tehran” for his role as the Deputy Prosecutor of the Revolutionary Court of Iran, which oversaw the 1979 “Death Commissions’ that executed 4-5,000 Iranians. He also oversaw the persecution of the country’s Bahai religious minority. In 2014, Raisi was appointed as the Prosecutor General of Iran, and in 2019, he presided over the killing of more than 1500 people, according to news reports. He was elected President of the Islamic Republic in 2021 and in 2022, oversaw the killing of more than 500 protesters.

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