United Nations slammed for honoring ‘Butcher of Tehran’ at tribute meeting: ‘Outright offensive’

The United States boycotted the tribute event for deceased Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, questioning the logic of honoring a man accused of committing severe human rights violations.

“The United States will not attend today’s United Nations tribute event for President Raisi in any capacity,” U.S. Mission to the U.N. spokesperson Nate Evans stated on Thursday.

“The U.N. should be supporting the Iranian people,” Evans said. “Raisi has been linked to numerous, horrific human rights abuses, including the extrajudicial killings of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. Some of the worst human rights abuses on record took place during his tenure.”

The United Nations held a commemoration for Raisi following his death, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other Iranian officials, who died in a helicopter in the country’s northwest.

Critics attacked the organization for a man known as the “Butcher of Tehran,” and they criticized the organization’s customary tribute for a deceased head of state.

The U.N. General Assembly traditionally holds meetings to pay respects to sitting heads of state at the time of their death, . During these meetings, a representative from the delegation of the member state usually makes a statement while displaying a still photo of the deceased.

In prepared remarks, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed condolences to Raisi’s family and “to the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran” for Raisi’s death.

“President Raisi led Iran during a difficult period for the country, the region, and the world,” Guterres said, adding, “I wish to emphasize that the United Nations stands in solidarity with the Iranian people and in the quest for peace, development, and fundamental freedoms.”

“For this, the United Nations will follow the Charter to help establish peace and security, sustainable development, and human rights for all,” Guterres added. “As the Islamic Republic of Iran mourns the death of President Raisi and his companions, I again express my deepest condolences to its government and people.”

Lisa Daftari, a Middle East expert and editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk, criticized the U.N. for its inconsistent stance of advocating for human rights while honoring an individual accused of violating them.

“It is perplexing, if not outright offensive, that such an individual was officially commemorated by an organization that claims to uphold human rights,” Daftari told Digital.

“Even more concerning is that the U.N. General Assembly continues to support and legitimize the oppressive Iranian regime while not formally condemning the regime’s terror proxies Hamas and Hezbollah,” Daftari added.

“This blatant hypocrisy raises significant concerns about the U.N.’s commitment to justice and peace and undermines the institution’s credibility on the global stage.”

Some members of the international community have been vocal in their criticism, such as Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, who wrote in a post on X that he was not “comfortable” extending condolences to Raisi’s friends and family “while Iran is providing drones that are used against civilians in Ukraine.”

Raisi, 63, was seen as a possible successor to the 85-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His death has cast doubt on this succession, especially given the absence of a clear clerical heir apparent ahead of the scheduled elections on June 28.

Digital’s Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.