Crowds Chant ‘Death to America’ at Iranian President’s Funeral

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Iran commemorated the second of a week-long series of funerals on Wednesday for President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, drawing thousands who chanted “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” to honor the late officials.

Iran organized the first funeral for the officials in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan, the province where the helicopter crash occurred, on Tuesday. During that event, Iranian state media claimed “millions” attended to hear Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi honor the deceased leaders. PressTV repeated the claim that a “millions-strong” crowd gathered for Raisi on Wednesday.

These state-curated images contrasted sharply with reports of Iranians celebrating Raisi’s death. Videos showed people setting off fireworks and distributing sweets after the news of Raisi’s death—a reflection of his notorious, violent legacy. Iranian exiles also rejoiced openly.

Iran’s Cyber Police Chief Vahid Majid announced on Tuesday that his office would begin probing individuals accused of sharing “false and insulting” content about Raisi online. Iranians widely shared comedic memes mocking Raisi’s death, including jokes suggesting the Iranian regime would blame Israel for the helicopter crash.

Raisi, a cleric by training, had a long political career as a prosecutor, often involved in the execution of thousands of peaceful dissidents. He was part of Iran’s “death commissions” in the 1980s and is believed to have overseen the execution of between 5,000 and 30,000 political prisoners in 1988. During his presidency, which began in 2021, Raisi’s regime targeted women’s rights and student protesters, especially after the September 2022 killing of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman beaten to death by the “morality police” for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly. A United Nations report published in March estimated Raisi’s government killed over 550 people during the Mahsa Amini protests.

“Dear Raeisi did not know fatigue,” PressTV quoted Khamenei during his officiation of funeral prayers for the president.

Footage broadcast from the funeral on Wednesday displayed crowds chanting “Death to America!” after Khamenei’s prayer. “Death to Israel!” chants followed remarks by Hamas “political” head Ismail Haniyeh, who addressed the crowd.

Khamenei gave Haniyeh a private meeting separate from the funeral, reiterating Iran’s intent to eliminate Israel.

“God’s promise will be fulfilled in the formation of the Palestinian state from the river to the sea,” Khamenei reportedly told Haniyeh. The phrase “from the river to the sea” refers to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, encompassing all of Israel.

Khamenei also lauded the disruption caused in America by Hamas supporters on university campuses.

“Who would have believed that one day, slogans in support of Palestine would be raised in US universities and that the flag of Palestine would be raised there?” Tasnim News Agency quoted Khamenei telling Haniyeh.

Besides Haniyeh, PressTV reported that senior figures from another Iranian proxy terror group, Hezbollah, also attended the event.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) noted that, despite the presence of Iran’s proxy terror groups, no Western heads of government were at the funeral, nor were any of Raisi’s living predecessors, including his immediate predecessor, Hassan Rouhani. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who attempted to run against Raisi in the 2021 election but lacked “supreme leader” approval, was also absent.

Frances Martel
Frances Martel
Author and editor specializing in international current events.

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