Blinken Justifies Condolences to Iranian President Raisi: ‘Business as Usual’

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that expressing condolences to Iran for the passing of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash on Sunday was part of the “normal course of business.”

The State Department released a condolence statement without referencing Raisi’s notorious legacy, which includes the execution of thousands of political prisoners in the 1980s and the recent prosecution of pro-democracy activists.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) queried Blinken about the State Department’s condolences, to which Blinken responded that it was the “normal course of business,” and affirmed that it did not alter the facts about Raisi or U.S. policy towards Iran.

Subsequently, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) questioned Blinken further about the condolences statement, leading Blinken to admit that “the Iranian people are probably better off” without Raisi. Asked if the State Department’s condolence message had conveyed this, Blinken inaccurately claimed that it had.

The full statement reads:

The United States conveys its official condolences for the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian, and other members of their delegation in a helicopter crash in northwest Iran. As Iran chooses a new president, we reaffirm our support for the Iranian people and their fight for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Sen. Barrasso stated that Raisi was “responsible for death, rape, torture — he’s a sworn enemy of the free world.” He labeled Raisi the “Butcher of Tehran” and condemned the State Department’s condolences as “a terrible mistake.”

Joel B. Pollak
Joel B. Pollak
South African-American conservative political commentator, writer, radio host, and attorney.

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