The chief of staff of Iran’s president, who is under sanctions by the European Union like Ebrahim Raisi himself, is accompanying the hardliner president on his trip to New York.
He was first blacklisted in 2011 as Iran’s prisons’ organization chief over “serious human rights violations.”
Gholam-Hossein Esmaili is sanctioned over his "complicity in the massive detention of political protesters and covering up abuses performed in the jailing system."
He was the spokesman of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic from 2019 until 2021, and served as Tehran Province’s chief justice from April 2014 until August 2019. The former prosecutor was appointed as the head of president’s office on August 8, 2021, the same day Raisi also named Mohammad Mokhber, the chairman of the powerful state-owned foundation sanctioned by the United States.
Raisi – who is himself on US and European sanctions list – is currently in the US along with a large entourage to attend the UN Assembly, despite heavy pressure on the Biden administration to deny a visa for him.
Raisi served as Iran’s Judiciary chief before becoming president in August 2021, but he spent most of life in the Islamic judiciary and is accused by human rights groups of taking part in gross violations of human rights. He was a member of a death committee that ordered the killing of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, an involvement he has proudly admitted.