Iran's late president Ebrahim Raisi at United Nations headquarters, 2023

LGBTQ+ Activists Slam Western Governments Condolences for Iran's President

Sunday, 05/26/2024

In an open letter, LGBTQ+ activists and organizations voiced their strong disapproval of Western governments that expressed condolence to Iran honoring President Ebrahim Raisi, who died last weekend in a helicopter crash along with other officials.

The activists condemned the action as an "insult to those who rose chanting Woman Life Freedom to overthrow the Islamic Republic."

They emphasize that such gestures of sympathy are a betrayal to the Iranian people, particularly women and the LGBTQ+ community, who have been fighting against the Islamic Republic's brutal policies.

“Raisi's role in the execution and killing of homosexuals and queers who were unjustly killed by the judicial system of the Islamic Republic cannot be hidden,” the letter read.

The activists call on governments to take a firm stand against the Islamic Republic and cease appeasement policies, and designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

The letter includes endorsements from organizations such as Azad Queer, which is a network of Iranian queers in the Netherlands, the Organization of Iranian Rainbows, and 6rang, as well as numerous individual activists from around the world.

Following the deaths of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, western leaders have issued condolence messages that have provoked immediate and harsh criticism from Iranians and others.

According to critics, offering condolences to such a regime implicitly legitimizes its actions, such as suppressing dissent, supporting terrorism, and violating human rights in the present.

Ebrahim Raisi served on a "Death Panel" responsible for the execution of at least two thousand Iranian political prisoners during the 1980s.

As president, he was also in office at the time of the 2022 Woman Freedom Movement in Iran that was sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini.

According to a UN fact-finding mission in March, the Iranian regime committed crimes against humanity in its crackdown on the protests, including killings, imprisonment, torture, and sexual assaults.

On Thursday, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi requested that the UN General Assembly cancel its scheduled tribute to Raisi.

She asked UN chiefs to call Raisi by the same term that "Iranians call him: Butcher of Tehran."

At the UN Security Council meeting on Monday, a minute of silence was observed for Raisi and his delegation, and the UN flag was flown at half-mast at its New York headquarters.

Gilad Erdan, Israel's ambassador to the UN, condemned the observance and asked the council, "What's next? Will there be a vigil for Hitler? We wouldn’t be surprised.”

On Thursday, Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a former Australian hostage held in Iran for over two years, also criticized Western governments for their condolences over the death of Iran’s president, saying they lack leadership in denouncing “a man widely regarded to be complicit in mass murder.”

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