Israeli Officials, Human Rights Activists Condemn EU Envoy for Appearance at Iranian Presidential Ceremony Next to Terrorist Leaders

EU Representative Enrique Mora seated behind Palestinian Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhalah, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Hezbollah deputy chief Naim Qassem at the inauguration of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, on August 5, 2021. Photo: Twitter screenshot

Israeli officials and human rights activists criticized the presence of a top European Union diplomat seated immediately behind senior leaders of the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups at Thursday’s inauguration of hardline Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi.

The Israeli embassy in Austria — the country hosting ongoing talks between Iran and world powers over the 2015 nuclear deal — called the attendance of EU representative Enrique Mora at the inauguration of the cleric as “unbelievable but true.”

Raisi was placed under US sanctions in 2019 after his appointment to lead Iran’s judiciary, for his alleged role executing thousands of political prisoners in 1988.

Also attending Thursday’s event were leaders of three militant groups that the Israeli embassy noted are on the EU terrorist list.

Mora was spotted behind Palestinian Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhalah, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Hezbollah deputy chief Naim Qassem, who were taking their seats in the first row at the presidential ceremony.

“Hezbollah, Hamas & the EU in one photo at the inauguration of the ‘butcher of Tehran.’ How can they [EU] preach about human rights while sitting with representatives of terrorist organizations days after Iran’s murderous attack on a civilian ship and right before the UNSC discusses the issue?” Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, questioned.

An international watchdog group and Iranian rights activists slammed the EU’s decision to send a senior representative to Raisi’s inauguration as “shameful.”

“We Iranian people are furious and we condemn the European Union’s endorsement of a mass murderer like Raisi by sending a representative to his presidential inauguration,” Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad said.

“How shameful,” tweeted Alinejad. “I call on the West to condemn EU’s endorsement of Raisi.”

Hillel Neuer, head of the NGO UN Watch, said that the attendance of Mora legitimized the new Iranian leader.

“Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raisi was part of the regime’s Death Commission in 1988 that ordered the mass execution of 5,000 political prisoners. Western officials shouldn’t celebrate his inauguration, they should prosecute him for crimes against humanity,” Neuer urged.

“It is unfathomable that a murderer who has been accused of crimes against humanity will take the seat as the President of the Iranian regime, as representatives from the international community sit by and watch,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

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Author: Sharon Wrobel

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