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UNITED NATIONS, New York – Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi addressed the UN General Assembly (UNGA) with talk of “justice” and “democracy” as protests outside the UN and in Iran itself call for an end to a regime that many citizens say does not represent their country.
As protests continue in Iran, Raisi asserted that Iran continues to fight injustice.
“All the hopes and aspirations of humanity are built on justice and they have the capacity to create such a framework of all-encompassing justice, which means the elimination of injustice,” Raisi said. “We are defenders of a struggle against injustice in all its forms, against humanity, against spirituality, against the Almighty, against the people of the world.”
Protests have erupted across Iran following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the morality police for not wearing her hijab (headscarf). Police rushed Amini to a hospital shortly after she fell into a coma during her detention, claiming she had collapsed. But her family said they saw signs of beatings.
Amini died three days laterand the police deny that Amini was killed.
But her death sparked protests across Tehran, with hundreds protest at Amini’s funeral, and more protests starting over the following two days. Iranian officials have reportedly cut internet services to phones and shut down social media, including Facebook, in an attempt to contain the protests.
At least five protesters have died as police try to clear the streets.
Raisi, instead of addressing the crisis in his country, attended the 77th General Assembly despite calls by critics and survivors of the 1988 “death commission” for the United States to deny the Iranian president a visa to enter the country . He touted the “progress” Iran has made in using its platform to air a series of grievances against other countries.
“The Islamic Revolution in Iran was the beginning of the movement of a great nation in Iran to seek its own place in the world, and over the decades we have been confronted with foreign plots such as coup d’état, oppressive sanctions as well as hegemonic interventions.” Raisi said: “None of the Iranian nation’s successes have been acceptable to the great powers from the time the first president of the Islamic revolution in Iran.”
But many citizens of Iran do not accept that the current regime has many “successes” to speak of. Protesters in Dag Hammarskjold Park across the street from the United Nations told Fox News Digital that Raisi had no right to address the General Assembly as he does not represent the people. And Raisi was allegedly involved in the death commission, which may have killed as many as 30,000 dissidents and prisoners.
Survivors from the commission filled the park on Tuesday pictures of 2,000 of these victims and told Fox News Digital that they saw Raisi and directly blame him for the deaths of their families and friends.
A protester said on Wednesday that everyone in Iran knows “someone” who was a victim of the regime.
“Raisi is not the president of the Iranian people and he is a mass murderer,” said Raha, an Iranian woman born in the Netherlands and living in the United States. “He is responsible for massacre of 30,000 political prisoners … and again he proved how terrible and how monstrous he can be when in 2019 he cracked down on national protests in Iran.”
Raha said that despite what Raisi said, “Iran does not stand for justice.”
Haisi, a student who moved to the US with her family, spoke about the problems her family faced and her own harrowing incident at the age of 13 when she was almost arrested for violating the hijab law.
“I was on the street and I wasn’t wearing my hijab properly, so one of the women from the vans came and took my hand and pulled me towards the van and eventually I got it fixed and stuff… But that here is a very common event that happens in Iran,” Haisi said. “My friends and I were always afraid of being arrested.”
But instead of addressing these issues, Raisi instead spent large stretches of his speech deflecting and insisting that other nations must address their own human rights issues before raising issues with Iran. He quoted the dark history of canadian boarding schools and the deaths of hundreds of First Nation children and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as examples of problems that world powers are “running away from.”
“Of course, the implementation of justice and fairness is quite challenging and difficult, and perhaps it is because of that that many of those who claim to be on the side of peace, they run away from the responsibility of peace,” said Raisi. “So we say to them: Since you don’t want to carry the burden on your shoulder, don’t you even want to carry the burden of fighting oppression?”
Foreign Desk editor-in-chief Lisa Daftari said it is “not surprising” to see Raisi try to blame the US and its allies for allegedly “supports terrorism”.
“For someone nicknamed the ‘Butcher of Tehran’ to travel to New York and make such accusations while the US and European delegations sat and listened is truly a sign of how bold Iran’s rogue regime has become,” said Daftari for Fox News Digital. “This is a man who has the innocent blood of his own people on his hands, and yet he stands at the podium spewing lies about how he believes in human rights for all.”
Daftari noted that Raisi was not speaking for his own people at all, only the Palestinian people, who he said were victims of Israeli “tyranny.”
“Outside the doors of the UN, something very different was going on,” Daftari said. “Protesters from across the country traveled to New York to protest Raisi’s visit and to try to show journalists and other bystanders that the Iranian regime’s brutal crimes, such as the murder of a 22-year-old girl for showing her hair, should not be forgotten instead of some made-up diplomacy talk at the UN”
Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) told Fox News Digital that the administration missed an opportunity by allowing Raisi to come to the United States
“Failing to deny Raisi a visa, especially after the brutal killing of Mahsa Amini, was a missed opportunity for the Biden administration to put its money where its mouth is on Iran and human rights,” Taleblu said.