As the annual high-level session of the UN General Assembly approaches, it has been announced that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will not attend the summit in person in New York. The question raised is why?
According to tradition, the UN General Assembly meets annually in September in New York, the United Nations headquarters.
At the annual General Assembly of the United Nations, the leaders of the member states attend and deliver speeches in the presence of other world leaders.
But this year’s session of the UN General Assembly is different in one respect for Iran’s government, and that is the appointment of Ebrahim Raisi as its president, who must attend this meeting as the highest executive official of Iran while having a big case in human rights violations.
While the regime told international news agencies that Raisi would appear by making a video statement in the General Assembly due to the coronavirus precautionary measures, the state-run Jahan-e-Sanat newspaper reported on the main reason for the regime’s fear; it is about Raisi’s role in the 1988 political prisoners’ massacre and the reaction of Iran’s people against his presence at the UN.
“The president’s not going to the annual General Assembly has led to the issue of legal obstacles to his role in the international arena. We know that the European Union and the United States have designated Ebrahim Raisi for human rights issues and November 2019.
“What has led Raisi and his advisers to not attend the UN General Assembly is to avoid possible tensions that may create Iranians living abroad and so on.”
This outlet added: “The President of a country can be arrested by a ruling of the Criminal Court of The Hague, the ICC. Perhaps one of the concerns is that reactions abroad will be carried out in the form of demonstrations by Iranians living abroad. Events like this cause a negative result, and naturally, traveling is not worth the trouble.”
Finally, as a conclusion, this daily added: “Absence is better than attendance. It’s better to get past the benefits of a global opportunity, as the UN General Assembly.”
The existence and presence of some organizations and parties, such as the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MEK/PMOI), to which Raisi is known as one of the main perpetrators of the massacre of 30,000 members of this organization in 1988, and their possible protests in the presence of Ebrahim Raisi in New York, caused the regime, contrary to the usual procedures, to avoid the presence of its President attending in person at the General Assembly and contenting himself with a virtual and online speech.
To avoid attending the UN General Assembly, some lower-level figures in the government, including Mohammad Jamshidi, the deputy for political affairs of the president’s office, have cited the excuse of ‘excessive accumulation of work inside the country’ for the president as the main reason for his absence from the General Assembly.
But beyond any political explanation for his absence from the General Assembly, it is important to note that despite the political immunity that exists for a president to travel to New York, public opinion is against him.
The high-level session is taking place two weeks after Antonio Guterres in his latest report to the General Assembly expressed concern over the serious and catastrophic human rights violations of the Iranian people.