FSWC Deplores UN Allowing Holocaust-Doubting, Antisemitic 'Butcher of Tehran' to Address General Assembly Today

September 21, 2022

Media Release

Toronto (September 21, 2022) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) voiced outrage this morning over the appearance of the notorious Iranian dictator Ebrahim Raisi at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, just days after he publicly questioned whether the Holocaust took place.

“As the leader of a regime that has repeatedly made antisemitic calls for the destruction of fellow UN member Israel and cast doubt on the Holocaust, to say nothing of massive human rights violations of his own people, Raisi should be held accountable for his vile actions and words, not granted such a prominent global platform from which to spew his poison,” said Michael Levitt, President and CEO of FSWC. “Permitting Raisi to speak at the General Assembly is a shameful contradiction of the very values and principles upon which the UN is founded and purports to uphold.”

Sadly, despite his regime’s long record of gross human rights violations, Raisi was allowed to freely address world leaders at the UN, where he proved true to form, engaging in his usual litany of anti-western, anti-Israeli lies, hatred and hostility. Going well over his 15-minute allotted time, the hardline cleric slammed Israel, which, as usual, he refused to call by name, referring to it instead as the “Zionist regime” which he denounced as an “occupying savage power.” This at a time when the Raisi government is violating basic, universal rights of Iranians at home, including killing peaceful protestors, and supporting terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East, all with impunity.

This week, the Iranian regime has been suppressing demonstrations around the country triggered by its latest violent repression against citizens. Last Friday, Mahsa Amini, 22, died while in police custody after she was arrested in Tehran by the government’s morality police for allegedly wearing an improper hijab.

On Sunday, consistent with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s leadership’s history of refusing to acknowledge the Holocaust, Raisi sparked widespread criticism when, in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, he openly called into question the well-documented Nazi extermination of six million Jews. As part of his ongoing efforts to delegitimize Israel and seek its destruction, he denounced it as a “false regime.”

Raisi, who became president of Iran a year ago, has a horrific record for which the United States put him under human rights sanctions in 2019, and many organizations have called for him to stand trial before international tribunals for crimes against humanity. In 1988, as Iran’s chief prosecutor and member of the so-called “death committee,” Raisi ordered the execution of thousands of political prisoners, which earned him the nickname, Butcher of Tehran.

“It’s a sad day for the UN when it hosts such a despicable figure as Raisi and gives him a platform to bask in the international spotlight,” Levitt added. “All delegations should have gotten up from their seats and headed straight to the exits as soon as Raisi took to the podium.”

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