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Thursday, June 13, 2024

World reactions to death of Iran’s President Raisi

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Paris, France—Iran’s powerful allies on Monday mourned the death of its President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, while regional militants hailed him as a supporter of the Palestinian cause.

The United States said the deceased ultraconservative leader “had blood on his hands,” Russia and China called him a “friend,” and Iran’s arch-foe Israel has yet to react publicly.

Here is a round-up of key reactions:

United Nations

Members of the UN Security Council observed a minute’s silence in Raisi’s memory at the request of the current council president, Mozambique Ambassador Pedro Comissario Afonso.

NATO

NATO spokesperson Farah Daklallah on social media platform X sent the military alliance’s “condolences to the people of Iran.”

United States

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the United States “expresses its official condolences” and reaffirmed “our support for the Iranian people and their struggle for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Later, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that Raisi was responsible for “atrocious” rights abuses and “had a lot of blood on his hands”.

China

China’s President Xi Jinping said “the Chinese people have lost a good friend,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a press conference.

European Union

The European Union expressed its “sincere condolences.” EU Council President Charles Michel said in a statement: “Our thoughts go to the families.”

Gulf states

Iran’s Gulf neighbors Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman sent their condolences.

Jassem al-Budaiwi, secretary-general of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), called it a “tragic accident.”

Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed Raisi as an “outstanding politician” and “a true friend of Russia” in a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

France

France sent condolences to Iran and “the families of the victims of this accident,” in a foreign ministry statement.

India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise” of Raisi, adding that “India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow.”

Japan

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement he was “deeply saddened” by Raisi’s passing, recalling his “candid discussions” with Raisi and the two countries’ “friendly relations.”

Iranian opposition

Exiled opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said Raisi’s death was “a monumental and irreparable strategic blow to the mullahs’ supreme leader Ali Khamenei and the entire regime, notorious for its executions and massacres,” in a statement from the group’s leader, Maryam Rajavi.

Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a national day of mourning.

Earlier, he sent “sincere condolences to the friendly and fraternal people and government” of Iran in a message on X.

Taliban

Mohammad Hassan Akhund, leader of Afghanistan’s Taliban government, said in a statement: “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and all Afghans are deeply saddened and affected by this tragic event.”

Hamas

Hamas mourned Raisi as an “honorable supporter” of the Palestinian militant group, currently at war with Israel in Gaza, and hailed his “support for the Palestinian resistance.”

Pope Francis

Pope Francis sent condolences in a telegram addressed to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and sent “the assurance of spiritual closeness to the nation at this difficult time.”

Gazans

Several ordinary Gazans told Agence France Presse (AFP) that Raisi had failed to ease their suffering.

“He never supported us, never kept his promises, never called for a ceasefire, and never stood by us,” said one, Naji Khodeir, a resident of the war-torn city of Deir al-Balah.

Hezbollah

Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group, which has traded deadly cross-border fire with Israel during the war, praised Raisi as “a strong supporter, and a staunch defender of our causes.”

Huthis

Yemen’s Tehran-backed Huthi rebels said Raisi’s death “is a loss not only for Iran but also for the entire Islamic world and Palestine and Gaza,” Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said on X.

Iraq

Iran’s neighbor Iraq announced a day of mourning, according to the prime minister’s office.

African Union

African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said he was “deeply shocked and saddened,” and voiced the AU’s “deep sympathy and solidarity” with Iran.

Brazil

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva expressed “sadness” at the news and sent his “condolences.”

Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a statement expressed solidarity with Tehran, which has backed him during more than a decade of civil war.

Venezuela

President Nicolas Maduro said he was “deeply saddened to have to say goodbye to an exemplary person.”

North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a message of condolence, saying the “demise of the president is a great loss to the fraternal Iranian people and the world people aspiring after independence and justice,” state media outlet KCNA reported.

Cuba

President Miguel Díaz-Canel said on X that the Cuban government and people “deeply regretted the loss of a great friend (and) admirable politician.”

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