The chief of staff of Iran's president, under sanctions from both the US and EU, is accompanying the hardline President on his second consecutive trip to New York.
Gholam-Hossein Esmaili’s initial blacklisting in 2011 stemmed from his role as the head of Iran's prisons organization, where he faced accusations of "serious human rights violations."
He is under sanctions due to his involvement in the widespread detention of political protesters and his role in concealing abuses within the prison system.
Esmaili served as the spokesperson for the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic from 2019 to 2021 and held the position of Tehran Province's chief justice from April 2014 to August 2019. On August 8, 2021, he was appointed as chief of staff of Iran's president.
President Ebrahim Raisi, who is himself on the US and European sanctions lists, is currently in the US to attend the UN Assembly, a move met with global criticism in light of the country's recent crackdowns.
Prior to assuming the presidency in August 2021, Raisi served as Iran's Judiciary chief. However, his extensive career within the Islamic judiciary has drawn criticism from human rights organizations, accusing him of significant human rights violations.
He was a member of a death committee responsible for ordering the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, which he openly acknowledges.