Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, was detained by UN security personnel on Tuesday after he staged a protest on the floor of the General Assembly during a speech by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Erdan was released but told Fox News he was detained with “unacceptable” brutality.
Erdan protested by displaying an image of Kurdish-Iranian Mahsa Amini with the caption, “Iranian women deserve freedom now!”
Amini died one year ago on 16 September under suspicious circumstances last year, three days after being arrested by the religious morality police of Iran’s government for allegedly not wearing the hijab per government standards. Iranian officials claimed she suffered a heart attack in her cell, while family members said she didn’t have a history of heart issues and witnesses to her detention saw her being viciously beaten. Amini’s death resulted in a series of protests, which were brutally suppressed with at least 476 people killed by regime security forces.
Erdan was then escorted out of the hall by UN security while the Israeli delegates left, saying the U.N. had reached “a new moral low” by giving a platform to Raisi, who he derided as a “vile murderer.”
“While the butcher of Tehran is speaking at the UN and is being respected by the international community, hundreds of Iranians are protesting outside, shouting and calling on the international community to wake up and help them,” Erdan said in a statement.
“It is a disgrace that member states stay to listen to a mass murderer,” he said. “It should not be possible for a murderer with blood on his hands to receive a platform here at the UN. I left the speech to make it clear that the State of Israel stands by the Iranian people. I call on the international community to stop the madness and prevent murderers and anti-Semites from coming and speaking here at the UN.”
Erdan criticized the UN, which he said was “founded to prevent atrocities,” but gave a platform to a “mass murderer who denies, distorts the Holocaust and threatens to annihilate the Jewish people and is murdering his own people and women and protesters.”
“The UN’s lost moral compass was on full display today,” Erdan said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Being detained for standing with the Iranian people and protesting a vile mass murderer who was given an audience on the global stage is utterly disgraceful. It is yet another example of the strong bias Israel suffers at the UN.
“Other ambassadors have previously held signs for ideological reasons, including in recent sessions on the war in Ukraine, with no repercussions. I will not be deterred and will always stand up for what is right and just,” Erdan stated.
“So I decided to show him and remind everyone the struggle of the Iranian women, and also to remind the world and the Iranian people that they are not our enemies, that the people of Israel support and stand in solidarity with them, whatever their regime is telling them and lying to them about Israel,” he continued. “This is not the truth. Israel is standing with the people of Iran, and we want to live in peace with the people of Iran. But their regime is the one who is preventing it and causing them to suffer so much.”
Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, tweeted his solidarity with Erdan.
“History will record that the Butcher of Tehran addressed the United Nations today and not a single democracy said or did anything about the fact that his regime—which beats, blinds, tortures and rapes women protesters—is to be Chair of the UN Human Rights Council Social Forum,” Neuer wrote.
Raisi’s speech was controversial due to other elements. He criticized the US for allegedly stoking hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.
“The United States of America has fanned the flames of violence in Ukraine in order to weaken the European countries. This is a long-term plan, unfortunately,” he said.
Raisi also deflected criticism that the Iranian regime is providing Russia with military drones by claiming that any Iranian-made drones hitting Ukrainian cities had been sold before the war started.
“If they have a document that Iran gave weapons or drones to the Russians after the war, then they should produce it,” Raisi said. “We are against the war, and we are ready to mediate in order to end it, but the taxes of the American people are spent on war-making and filling the pockets of arms factories from the place of arms sales in this field.”
He also claimed that his country had foiled attempts by US intelligence efforts to topple his regime.
“The world is transitioning into a novel international order and the project to Americanise the world has failed,” he said, adding that the west was “facing a crisis of identity and functionality and sees the world as a forest and itself as a beautiful garden.”
At the same time, he called on the US to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known colloquially as the Iran nuclear deal.
“By exiting the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], the United States violated the agreement and the principle of good faith. America should demonstrate its goodwill and determination,” Raisi said. “America must build trust to demonstrate its good intentions and genuine willingness to fulfill its commitments and conclude the path.”
The JCPOA was initiated by former President Barack Obama in 2015. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA in 2018.
Raisi is personally named in the US-led sanctions, preventing him from traveling anywhere in New York except for his hotel and the UN General Assembly.
Hundreds of people protested outside the UN while Raisi spoke.
“He was directly involved in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 and the continued repression of the Iranian people,” said Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington Office National Council of Resistance of Iran.