Exclusive: Claudia Tenney Spearheads Letter Blasting EU Presence at Tehran ‘Murderer’ Raisi Inauguration

Iran's newly elected President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during his swearing in ceremony at the Iranian parliament in the capital Tehran on August 5, 2021. - Raisi takes the oath before parliament today with Iran facing an economy battered by US sanctions, a grinding health crisis and thorny negotiations on its …
ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) denounced the presence of a high-level European Union (EU) representative at the recent inauguration of Iran’s new president and notorious executioner Ebrahim Raisi, accusing the multi-member state union of “honoring a murderer,” in a strongly worded letter to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell provided in advance to Breitbart News.

In a statement to Breitbart News, the congresswoman called upon Borrell to “uphold the European Union’s human rights principles and stand with the Iranian people rather than honor and empower their corrupt and abusive oppressors,” after the deputy secretary-general of the bloc’s diplomatic body attended Raisi’s inauguration on behalf of the EU top diplomat. 

The letter, dated for Thursday, is currently gaining congressional signatures, having already secured those of Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), and Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK).

The letter begins by expressing deep concern over the EU’s decision to send a senior EU official to attend the inauguration of Raisi, “who has an abhorrent human rights record [and] was elected in a sham election.”

Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., speaks during the House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on the administration foreign policy priorities on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, in Washington. (Ken Cedeno/Pool via AP)

Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., speaks during the House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on the administration foreign policy priorities on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, in Washington. (Ken Cedeno/Pool via AP)

Lamenting the decades-long deprivation of any “real choice at the ballot box” in the Islamic regime, the letter describes recent elections, which saw Raisi’s rise to presidency as “neither free nor fair.”

The letter slams the EU for seeking to “legitimize” the election by “sending a senior representative to Raisi’s inauguration,” referring to the move as both “baffling” and “irresponsible.” 

“An institution like the European Union, which purportedly seeks to uphold democratic ideals, should be condemning this election, not legitimizing the sham process,” it reads.

The letter also claimed the EU’s presence at Raisi’s inauguration “whitewashes” and “minimizes” Raisi’s “brutal history.” 

Noting that just days earlier the Iranian regime “carried out a fatal drone strike” on an oil tanker in international waters off the coast of Oman, the letter highlights the grave threat that the Islamist regime continues to pose. 

“These destabilizing attacks confirm that the regime lacks the necessary legitimacy and ability to be considered a reliable and trustworthy member of the international community,” it reads.

The letter then highlights the hypocrisy of honoring Raisi while claiming to support democracy and human rights worldwide.

“It is disgraceful and extraordinarily disheartening that the European Union continues to tout its support of human rights and democratic principles abroad, yet simultaneously honors a murderer who has killed thousands of his own people and came to power in an election that was neither free nor fair,” it reads.

“Your actions minimized the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom and legitimized their oppressors,” it continues.

The letter ends with a call for the EU to investigate the regime’s crimes and “uphold its moral high ground and human rights principles.”

“[T]he European Union must stand up for its democratic commitments and support the brave Iranian people, who have been oppressed by the Iranian regime for long enough,” it concludes.

Raisi was formally sworn into office as Iran’s president on Thursday, two months after his election victory.

President Ebrahim Raisi, center, waves to journalists as he is surrounded by group of lawmakers after taking his oath as president at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. The inauguration of Raisi, a protégé of Iran's supreme leader, completes hard-liners' dominance of all branches of government in the Islamic Republic. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

President Ebrahim Raisi, center, waves to journalists as he is surrounded by group of lawmakers after taking his oath as president at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. The inauguration of Raisi, a protégé of Iran’s supreme leader, completes hard-liners’ dominance of all branches of government in the Islamic Republic. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Many have regarded the landslide election as a foreseen conclusion due to many top contenders, including former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, being barred from running. 

Raisi, who once held a seat on the Central Committee of the nation’s “death commissions,” has an extensive record of ordering mass executions of opponents of the Islamic regime and is accused of involvement in a range of egregious human rights abuses, including the execution of thousands of political prisoners, including pregnant women and teenage girls.

In addition, under Raisi’s watch, impunity was granted to security forces and government officials responsible for violent crackdowns on protests in 2019 in which more than 1,000 protesters were killed. 

On Wednesday, Raisi appointed terrorists and anti-Western hardliners in top ministerial positions, including an interior minister wanted by Interpol for his role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires as well as a foreign minister with close links to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group.

The letter in full reads:

Dear High Representative Borrell Fontelles,

We write to you today to express deep concern over your decision to send a senior European Union official to attend the inauguration of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi. Raisi, who has an abhorrent human rights record, was elected in a sham election that prohibited the Iranian people from expressing their God-given democratic rights. In addition, he is currently designated as a specially designated national by the United States Department of the Treasury.

 The Iranian people have been deprived of a real choice at the ballot box for more than 40 years, and this presidential election was no different. The regime’s clerics oversee an electoral process that silences the voices of the Iranian people and limits their political participation. Raisi’s rise to the presidency was orchestrated entirely by the regime’s elite officials. Religious minorities, women, and those with opposing political views were kept from even participating. This process is a sham. It is neither free nor fair. The fact that the European Union would seek to legitimize this election by sending a senior representative to Raisi’s inauguration is as baffling as it is irresponsible. An institution like the European Union, which purportedly seeks to uphold democratic ideals, should be condemning this election, not legitimizing the sham process.

We do not just take issue with your legitimizing this fraudulent election. The attendance of a senior European Union official whitewashes Raisi’s brutal history. As Chief of the Iranian Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi oversaw some of the most violent crimes in Iran’s past, including the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. Raisi was a member of the “death commission” following the Iranian Revolution, which extrajudicially executed thousands of political dissidents in Gohardasht and Evin prisons. In addition, under Raisi’s watch, the judiciary granted impunity to security forces and government officials responsible for the violent crackdowns on protesters during the protests of November 2019, in which more than 1,000 people were killed. These grave human rights abuses are indisputably crimes against humanity. The European Union’s attendance minimizes the gravity of these heinous crimes. 

Furthermore, the decision to send a senior level European Union official to the inauguration ceremony came just days after the Iranian regime carried out a fatal drone strike on an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. As this regime escalates its malign activity and continues to pose a major threat to freedom of navigation, maritime security, and international law, your decision to have a senior official attend the ceremony is once again misguided and irresponsible. These destabilizing attacks confirm that the regime lacks the necessary legitimacy and ability to be considered a reliable and trustworthy member of the international community.

It is disgraceful and extraordinarily disheartening that the European Union continues to tout its support of human rights and democratic principles abroad, yet simultaneously honors a murderer who has killed thousands of his own people and came to power in an election that was neither free nor fair. The Iranian people oppose this regime’s brutality, and they deserve the opportunity to express their views without being massacred and oppressed by their leaders. Your actions minimized the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom and legitimized their oppressors.

We urge the European Union to uphold its moral high ground and human rights principles in its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Raisi’s administration. It is critical that the international community investigates the regime’s crimes against humanity, rather than honoring those who have directed those crimes. Under your leadership, the European Union must stand up for its democratic commitments and support the brave Iranian people, who have been oppressed by the Iranian regime for long enough.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.

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