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US to Boycott UN Tribute to Late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi: Report

The United States has announced its decision to boycott a United Nations tribute on Thursday for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash earlier this month, according to a U.S. official.

The 193-member UN General Assembly traditionally holds a session to honor any sitting head of state who dies while in office. This tribute to Raisi will include speeches reflecting on his life and leadership.

“We won’t attend this event in any capacity,” a U.S. official, speaking anonymously, informed Reuters. This decision by the U.S. has not been previously reported.

Raisi, known as a hardliner and considered a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, died on May 19 when his helicopter crashed in poor weather conditions in the mountains near the Azerbaijan border.

“The United Nations should be standing with the people of Iran, not memorializing their decades-long oppressor,” stated the U.S. official. “Raisi was involved in numerous, horrific human rights abuses, including the extrajudicial killings of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.”

The official further added, “Some of the worst human rights abuses on record, especially against the women and girls of Iran, took place during his tenure.”

On May 20, the UN Security Council observed a moment of silence at the start of an unrelated meeting to honor the victims of the helicopter crash. Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood stood with his 14 counterparts, albeit reluctantly.

The United States expressed its “official condolences” for Raisi’s death, as noted by the State Department on May 20. White House national security spokesperson John Kirby also acknowledged the death, saying, “No question this was a man who had a lot of blood on his hands.”

President Joe Biden’s administration faced strong criticism from some Republican members of Congress for extending condolences to Iran.

Raisi, 63, who was elected president in 2021, had enforced stricter morality laws, led a violent crackdown on anti-government protests, and took a hardline stance in nuclear negotiations with world powers during his time in office.

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