Israel sounded the alarm this weekend saying new Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi is a threat to the global community—and the Jewish state just had to point to what Raisi did to his own people as evidence. In his first cabinet meeting as Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett on Sunday highlighted Raisi’s history and the danger he could pose in the future. “Of all the people that [Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei could have chosen, he chose the ‘Hangman of Tehran,’ the man infamous among Iranians and across the world for leading the Death Committees, which executed thousands of innocent Iranian citizens throughout the years,” said Bennett in comments released by his office.
“Raisi’s election is, I would say, the last chance for the world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear agreement, and to understand who they are doing business with. These guys are murderers, mass murderers.”
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lior Hiat was markedly un-diplomatic in his description of Raisi, all while backing up his comments with a shocking fact. “The butcher of Tehran, Ebrahim Raisi, has been rightly denounced by the international community for his direct role in the extrajudicial executions of over 30,000 people,” said Hiat in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday. “…An extremist figure, committed to Iran’s rapidly advancing military nuclear program, his election makes clear Iran’s true malign intentions, and should prompt grave concern among the international community.”
Israel isn’t the only one denouncing Raisi. Amnesty International, a left-wing global human rights organization, published a statement to their website on Saturday from the group’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard calling for an investigation into Raisi for “crimes against humanity”.
“That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran,” said Callamard.
The statement went on to note that in his role as head of Iran’s judiciary, Raisi “has presided over a spiralling crackdown on human rights,” listing crimes such as arbitrary detention, providing immunity to regime forces for unlawful killing of “hundreds of men, women and children”, and a vicious assault on protestors in 2019.
The message against Raisi isn’t new either. The United States Treasury Department in 2019 sanctioned Raisi and issued a troubling assessment of the new Iranian president’s crimes. “Raisi was involved in the regime’s brutal crackdown on Iran’s Green Movement protests that followed the chaotic and disorderly 2009 election,” said a Treasury press release at the time. “Previously, as deputy prosecutor general of Tehran, Raisi participated in a so-called ‘death commission’ that ordered the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.”
Raisi’s victory in the elections also raised eyebrows online, as less than 50% of Iran’s voters decided to cast ballots. Meir Javendafar, an expert on Iran in Israel, highlighted in a Twitter post the implied opposition to Raisi based on the voter numbers. “51% (at least) of those eligible to vote refused to take part in #IranElection2021 + 6% of those who did vote, cast void ballots = 57% of Iranians said NO to the Islamic Republic. (In reality this number is prob much higher)”.
In a separate post translated from Hebrew by Google, Javendafar argued that despite transitioning from supposed “moderate” Hasan Rouhani to Raisi, Iran’s approach to nuclear program won’t change—because the real final say comes from Khamenei, not the country’s president. “In Iran the President does not set foreign or nuclear policy. Raisi’s victory is expected to exacerbate the regime’s rhetoric, but the policies will remain the same as Rohani’s candidacy. After all, he also did not set foreign or nuclear policy,” tweeted Javendafar.
That being said, Israel’s viewpoint is the new president only highlights the danger Iran’s nuclear program poses to the world. Yair Lapid, deputy prime minister and new foreign minister for Israel, wrote in a series of tweets on Twitter on Saturday, “Iran’s new president, known as the Butcher of Tehran, is an extremist responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranians. He is committed to the regime’s nuclear ambitions and to its campaign of global terror. His election should prompt renewed determination to immediately halt Iran’s nuclear program and put an end to its destructive regional ambitions.”
Or as Bennett warned in the cabinet meeting on Sunday, “A regime of brutal hangmen must never be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction that will enable it to not kill thousands, but millions.
“Israel’s position will not change on this.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, June 20, 2021)