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UNITED NATIONS, New York – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addressed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) speaking of “justice” and “democracy” as protests outside the UN and within Iran itself call for the end of a regime that many citizens say does not represent their country.
As protests continue in Iran, Raisi stated that Iran continues to fight against injustice.
“All hopes and aspirations of humanity are based on justice, and they have the ability to create such an all-encompassing framework of justice, which means the elimination of injustice,” Raisi said. “We are defenders of a fight against injustice in all its forms, against humanity, against spirituality, against the Almighty, against the peoples of the world.”
Protests have broken out across Iran following the death of 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the morality police for not wearing a hijab (headscarf). Police rushed Amini to a hospital shortly after she fell into a coma during her arrest, claiming that she had fainted. But her family said they saw evidence of beatings.
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Amini died three days later and the police deny that Amini was killed.
But his death sparked protests across Tehran, with hundreds of protests at Amini’s funeral and more protests over the next two days. Iranian officials reportedly cut off internet service for phones and shut down social networks, including Facebook, in an effort to contain the protests.
At least five protesters have been killed as police tried to clear the streets.
Raisi, instead of addressing the crisis at home, attended the 77th General Assembly despite calls from critics and survivors of the 1988 “death commission” for the United States to deny the Iranian president a visa to enter the country. He praised the “progress” Iran has made, 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 of Iran to seek its own place in the world and over the decades we have faced foreign plots such as coups, oppressive sanctions, as well as hegemonic interventions,” Raisi said. “None of the successes of the Iranian nation have been acceptable to the great powers since the first president of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.”
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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 UN told Fox News Digital that Raisi had no right to address the General Assembly because he does not represent the people. And Raisi was allegedly involved in the commission of the death, which may have killed as many as 30,000 dissidents and prisoners.
Survivors of the commission littered the park Tuesday with the photos of 2,000 of those victims, telling Fox News Digital that they saw Raisi and blamed him squarely for the deaths of their family and friends.
A protester said Wednesday that everyone in Iran knows “someone” who was a victim of the regime.
“Raisi is not the president of the people of Iran, 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 the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners…and, once again, he showed how horrible and monstrous he can be when, in 2019, he cracked down on nationwide protests in Iran.”
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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 heartbreaking 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 over and grabbed my hand and was pulling me towards the van, and I finally fixed it and stuff… But this is very common event that happens in Iran,” Haisi said. “My friends and I were always afraid of being arrested.”
But instead of acknowledging these issues, Raisi spent much of his speech sidetracking and insisting that other nations must address their own human rights issues before raising issues with Iran. He cited the dark history of Canadian boarding schools and the deaths of hundreds of First Nations children and the Israel-Palestine conflict as examples of problems that world powers are “running away.”
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“Of course, the implementation of justice and fairness is quite challenging and difficult, and perhaps that is why many who claim to be on the side of peace run away from the responsibility of peace,” Raisi said. “So we tell them: since you don’t want to carry the burden on your shoulders, do you even want to carry the burden of fighting oppression?”
Foreign Desk editor-in-chief Lisa Daftari said it was “not surprising” to see Raisi try to blame the United States and its allies for allegedly “supporting terrorism.”
“For someone who goes by the nickname ‘Butcher of Tehran’ to travel to New York and make such accusations while delegations from the United States and Europe sat and listened is truly indicative of how audacious Iran’s rogue regime has become,” he said. Daftari to 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 and spews lies about how he believes in human rights for all.”
Daftari pointed out that Raisi did not advocate for his own people at all, only for the Palestinian people, whom he said were victims of Israeli “tyranny.”
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“Outside the gates of the UN, something very different was happening,” Daftari said. “Protesters from across the country traveled to New York to protest Raisi’s visit and to try to show journalists and others passing by that the regime’s brutal crimes in Iran, such as the murder of a 22-year-old girl for displaying her hair, shouldn’t be forgotten in lieu of some made-up diplomacy talk inside the UN.”
Behnam Ben Taleblu, principal investigator of the The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), told Fox News Digital that the administration missed an opportunity by allowing Raisi to come to the US.
“Not denying Raisi a visa, particularly after the brutal murder 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.