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Embracing Iran’s Raisi Amplifies Threat Posed by His Regime

The Iranian regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi is scheduled to attend the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Embracing Raisi’s speech would be in direct defiance of the Iranian people’s calls for his prosecution. In fact, there have been several formal requests made to arrest him for his role in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.

Raisi and his cabinet are “the embodiment of four decades of mullahs’ religious dictatorship and terrorism,” as the Iranian opposition leader, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi has underlined.

This would be in line with the decades-long careers of all key figures who now make up the Raisi administration. The new Interior Minister, Ahmad Vahidi, was in charge of the IRGC Quds Force in the 1990s and thus was intimately involved in some of the highest-profile terrorist acts perpetrated by the Iranian regime and its militant proxies. He has been formally implicated in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people.

Raisi’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber played a lead role in the recent financing of Iran-backed forces in Iraq, as head of an institution known as Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, which controls and disseminates resources confiscated from political dissenters and other Iranian civilians. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the administration’s Foreign Minister, contributed to domestic attacks on such dissenters at a very early stage and took those attacks beyond the borders of Iran via three decades of collaboration with the Quds Force.

Raisi’s choice to head the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, has virtually no scientific background that would qualify him for the position. But he does boast a history of support for the regime’s proliferation activities dating back to the very founding of the Iranian nuclear program. In the 1980s, he held meetings with Abdul Qadir Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, and facilitated the acquisition of components and designs that were instrumental in the creation of Iran’s first uranium enrichment centrifuges.

These are just a handful of the biographical details pointing to the evil character of the new administration, representing the evil regime in its entirety. However, Raisi stands at the top of this ilk of criminals with his career as the “hanging judge” and his role as a lifelong advocate for using the most brutal methods to secure and expand that system.

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His commitment to the violent suppression of dissent was made shockingly apparent in 1988 when he served as one of four key figures on the Tehran “death commission” that oversaw the implementation of Ruhollah Khomeini’s fatwa against those affiliated with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. The result of that fatwa was a massacre of political prisoners, the death toll of which is above 30,000. Raisi bears a measure of responsibility for every one of those deaths, having set the pace of executions throughout the country by imposing death sentences mercilessly and mechanically in Evin and Gohardasht Prisons.

Raisi’s early embrace of what he and Khomeini called “God’s command” to kill the PMOI has implications for the regime’s conduct today, as he settles into the role of second highest authority in Iran, behind Khomeini’s successor, Ali Khamenei.

Raisi has continued his human rights abuses after the 1988 massacre. At the time of the major Iran protests in 2019 Raisi was serving as head of the judiciary and thus oversaw major aspects of the regime’s response to that unrest. Within days of the November uprising’s outbreak, over 1,500 people were killed in mass shooting incidents. Thousands of others were arrested, and many faced continuous torture spanning a period of months. This incident was a clear sign of what will be in store for activists and dissidents following Raisi’s transition from head of the judiciary to head of the executive branch.

The danger, however, is not confined to Iran. This was made clear in the period between the uprisings, when regime authorities ordered an attack on the Iranian Resistance’s rally in June 2018 in France. The resulting bomb plot was thwarted, leading to the arrest and prosecution of the regime’s diplomat-terrorist and three accomplices, but the regime as a whole has faced no serious consequences, and Western leaders are now giving the impression that the international community will continue dealing with it as it would with any other country.

This is the implication behind Raisi’s embrace at the UN General Assembly, the presence of European dignitaries at his inauguration, and his potential embrace at the U.N. Climate Change Conference.

Those actions only reinforce the inherent threat that his regime poses to the Iranian people and global security. Rather than being dismissed in favor of the preservation of the status quo, that threat must be met head-on with sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and support for the domestic opposition movement working to free Iran from religious tyranny.

He must never be allowed to set foot in the West unless he is brought in chains to face charges.