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West Lacks Leadership, Says Ex-Hostage of Iran President Condolences


A former Australian hostage, held in Iran for over two years, has criticized Western governments for their condolences over the death of Iran’s president, saying they lack leadership in denouncing “a man widely regarded to be complicit in mass murder.”

In an op-ed for the Australian Age daily, Australian scholar Kylie Moore-Gilbert criticized recent statements made to the Iranian government by several Western governments, EU officials, and NATO.

She called their condolences “tone deaf to the prevailing view inside Iran and the diaspora that Raisi was a tyrant with an inordinate amount of blood on his hands.”

President Ebrahim Raisi and seven others, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, died in a helicopter crash near the Azerbaijan border in northwestern Iran last Sunday.

Raisi, often referred to as the “Butcher of Tehran,” led a “Death Commission” that oversaw the extrajudicial execution of thousands of Iranian political prisoners in 1988. His tenures as judicial chief and later as president were marked by authoritarian measures and brutal crackdowns on dissent.

Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer on Islamic studies, also criticized the Australian government for repeatedly failing to firmly oppose Iran’s terrorism sponsorship, hostage-taking of Australians, and transnational repression.

In 2018, she was detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in Iran on alleged espionage charges and sentenced to 10 years. She was released in 2020 in a prisoner exchange.

Australia has faced growing calls since 2022 to list the IRGC as a terrorist unit but has resisted. On Friday, it added the Iran-backed Yemeni Houthis to its terrorist list.