EU Rushes to Send Condolences to Iran After ‘Butcher of Tehran’ President Raisi Killed in Helicopter Crash

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While the Islamic world expressed their condolences for the death of the Iranian President called by critics the “butcher of Tehran”, the European Union stood out among the democratic West by joining in.

Several political leaders of Iran were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, apparently as their aircraft got into difficulty in bad weather as it returned to the country from neighbouring Azerbaijan. Among those onboard the downed helicopter was Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and the governor of one of Iran’s northern provinces Malek Rahmati, as well as other members of their entourage and crew, Anadolu Agency states.

Breitbart News reported on Ebrahim Raisi in 2023 when he was welcomed to the United States by the Biden White House to attend the United Nations in New York, despite the then-Iranian President being subject to U.S. sanctions for “complicity in serious human rights violations”. Raisi had long before earned the nickname the “Butcher of Tehran” and put on the sanctions list for having “participated in a so-called ‘death commission’ that ordered the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.”

JABRAYAIL, AZERBAIJAN – MAY 19: In this handout image supplied by the Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Meets with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev as they inaugurate the Qiz Qalasi Dam, constructed on the Aras River on the joint borders between Iran and Azerbaijan, after which his helicopter has reportedly crashed near the city of Jolfa, on the border with Azerbaijan on May 19, 2024 in Jabrayil, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran via Getty Images)

TEHRAN, IRAN – MAY 20: Newspapers cover the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash on their headlines in the country’s press in Tehran, Iran on May 20, 2024. (Photo by Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The U.S. sanctions order also noted Raisi had been “involved in the regime’s brutal crackdown on Iran’s Green Movement protests that followed the chaotic and disorderly 2009 election”. As reported, Raisi had: “an extensive record of ordering mass executions of opponents of the Islamic regime and is accused of involvement in a range of egregious human rights abuses, including the execution of thousands of political prisoners, including pregnant women and teenage girls.”

While Iranian allies were quick to send condolences, Western states have been more circumspect. Nevertheless, European Council President Charles Michel, a Belgian centrist-liberal, was quick to make an expression on behalf of the whole European Union, he said.

Michel wrote on Monday morning: “The EU expresses its sincere condolences for the death of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Abdollahian, as well as other members of their delegation and crew in a helicopter accident. Our thoughts go to the families.”

Theo Francken, a Eurosceptic Member of Parliament also from Belgium who formerly served in that country’s government as immigration minister and who is active in NATO’s middle east group expressed concern at the European message. Responding first to the announcement that the EU was acting in “solidarity” with Iran to help it in the immediate aftermath of the crash, the politician stated: “Are you totally crazy? This guy is a first class mass murderer.

“What’s next? Saving [Putin]? What a club of geopolitical dwarfs is this EU commission”.

VERZEGAN, IRAN – MAY 19: Medical and rescue teams from Iranian town of Verzegan arrive at the accident site after one of the helicopters in Iranian President Raisi’s convoy crashed following the inauguration of a dam on the border along with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Jabrayil district of Azerbaijan on May 19, 2024. (Photo by Azin Haghighi / Moj News Agency/Anadolu via Getty Images)

(Photo by Azin Haghighi / Moj News Agency/Anadolu via Getty Images)

(Photo by Azin Haghighi / Moj News Agency/Anadolu via Getty Images)

On Monday after Michel’s message of sympathy was broadcast, Francken responded again, calling it hypocritical for European leaders to express condolences to Iran while the regime is holding a European diplomat and aid worker hostage. He said: “Oh boy, European condolences for the death of a butcher and cruel mass murderer.

“Where are all those fake tears for Olivier Vandecasteele and Johan Floderus your EU diplomat who is still been kidnapped by the regime. You don’t speak in my name.”

That Michel did not speak in the name of all Europeans gained some traction, and shortly after Geert Wilders, the right-populist presently working to form a new government in the Netherlands joined the call. Decrying “EU solidarity with evil”, he wrote Monday morning: “not in my name”.

The earliest expressions of sympathy for Iran came from its allies worldwide, with statements published by the Chinese and Russian Presidents, India, Pakistan, and even OPEC. The Hamas terror group and Yemen’s Houthi militia, both militarily backed by Iran in their wars against the West, also sent “deepest condolences”, reports the Jerusalem Post.

Condolences from Western government leaders are harder to come by, so far. Indeed, Italy’s Prime Minister Georgia Meloni referred onto to it on Monday morning in the context of expressing hope the next generation of Iranian leadership would commit itself the stability and peace in the region.



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