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22 May, 2024 02:33

Iranians ‘better off’ without Raisi – Blinken

The US secretary of state has claimed it is good that the late president can no longer commit “horrible acts”
Iranians ‘better off’ without Raisi – Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed Iranians are “probably better off without President Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed along with several other senior officials in a helicopter crash on Sunday. The US diplomat made the remarks while defending his department for offering its condolences over Raisi’s death, arguing it was merely a formality.

The State Department had expressed its “official condolences in a brief statement on Monday, while reaffirming Washington’s “support for the Iranian people and their struggle for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Blinken was grilled about the statement during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday, when Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) claimed it was “shocking” that the administration would mourn a “sworn enemy of the free world.”

“We expressed official condolences as we’ve done when countries – adversaries, enemies or not – have lost leaders,” Blinken explained. “It changes nothing about the fact that Mr. Raisi was engaged in reprehensible conduct, including repressing his own people for many years.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) pressed Blinken further, asking whether the top US diplomat believed “the world is better today now that Raisi is dead.”

“Given the horrible acts that he engaged in, both as a judge and as president, to the extent that he can no longer engage in them, yes, the Iranian people are probably better off,” Blinken replied.

Raisi and several other senior Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, were killed on Sunday when the helicopter they were traveling in went down in the mountainous East Azerbaijan province in northwest Iran. After more than ten hours of searching – hampered by fog and rain – the president and his entourage were found and confirmed dead.

Iran has announced it will hold a presidential election on June 28. Vice President Mohammad Mokhber has taken on the role of acting president following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s approval on Monday.