The UN Security Council generates controversy with a gesture in honor of the Iranian Ebrahim Raisi

The UN Security Council paid tribute to former Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after his death over the weekend

The UN Security Council paid tribute to former Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after his death over the weekend UN/Getty Account X

The UN Security Council observed a minute of silence in honor of Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi on Monday, sparking fury among critics.

Raisi, known as the “Butcher of Tehran,” died in a helicopter crash on Sunday along with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials.

The UK’s deputy ambassador to the UN, James Kuriuki, was among those who observed a moment of silence at the request of Russia, China and Algeria the following day.

But Raisi – and the Iranian government of which he was a part – was a deeply divisive figure.

For example, Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Iran of manufacturing drones that were then used to attack Ukraine in Russia’s illegal war.

As former Defense Secretary Ben Wallace wrote on social media: “Do I hope no one at the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) has approved holding a minute’s silence at the UN for the butcher of Tehran? If so, then ministers would have questions to answer.

“Iran is busy exporting drones to kill people in Ukraine.”

President Vladimir Putin He has described Raisi as a “true friend of Russia” and a “wonderful person”, while declaring his death a “true tragedy”.

Putin reportedly held a two-hour meeting to help in the search for the wreckage over the weekend after the plane first disappeared.

Similarly, China’s authoritarian leader Xi Jinping He said that “the Chinese have lost a good friend” in Raisi; Western intelligence suggests that Beijing has been supporting Iran in its proxy war against Israel by purchasing Iranian oil.

Iran is also said to finance militant groups, including HamasLebanon Hezbollah and Yemen Houthi rebels.

As the chair of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, said: “The UK recognizes states, not individual governments, and as such the minute’s silence regarding the country and the rank of the individual.

“However, for my part, one can respect the silence without defending a man whose regime has committed femicides, is financing terrorism globally and has attempted murders on the shores of the United Kingdom and Europe.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, wrote in X that the moment of silence is a “disgrace.”

Raisi’s death appears to have sparked a mixed response across Iran.

The Woman Life Freedom movement began in September 2022, rebelling against the repression of women and the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being arrested for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly.

More than 22,000 people were arrested and the crackdown led to the deaths of more than 500 people as security services and the public clashed.

More than a year later, the so-called morality police continue to increase patrols and women who refuse to wear headscarves face further abuse.

Raisi supported the Iranian security services throughout this period.

And under the president’s watch, Iran has been enriching uranium to near weapons-grade levels and has been criticized for halting international inspections amid concerns about the country’s nuclear power.

Raisi was also seen as the favorite to be Iran’s next Supreme Leader.

He had been president since August 2021, when all of his potential opponents were prevented from running.

Raisi himself faced sanctions from the United States and other nations because he sentenced thousands of prisoners of conscience to death in the 1980s.

The US State Department also ended up defending itself after offering its condolences following Raisi’s death today.

The United States said the statement “in no way undermines” its previous criticism of Iran and said the former president “has blood on his hands.”

As Rep. Matthew Miller noted, the United States has made similar statements in the past after the deaths of other divisive leaders, such as Josef Stalin.