The Jerusalem Post
Outrage as Swiss president congratulates Iran’s Raisi
Iranian human rights experts and commentators condemned Swiss President Guy Parmelin this week for delivering a congratulatory message to Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, a revolutionary cleric accused of mass murder.
“Congratulating Raisi the butcher on ‘winning’ a sham election boycotted by the Iranian people is not only an insult to the millions who’ve been impacted by his cruel torture and executions,” Mariam Memarsadeghi, an Iranian-American and senior fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute, told The Jerusalem Post.
“It is an insult to any democratic country’s most basic values. Switzerland’s tradition of political neutrality should not mean it succumbs to legitimizing evil rulers of an evil regime.”
Mina Bai, an Iranian-Norwegian and political commentator with Oslo online newspaper Nettavisen, said “European leaders have not impressed Iranians fighting for their freedom and dignity with constantly siding with the regime for obvious reasons of economic benefits. Raisi’s dark record is no secret to anyone, yet they don’t care. History will not forget, it is like the Nazi experience is repeating itself.”
The Iranian Students’ News Agency, a regime-controlled outlet, reported on Saturday that the “Swiss president in the message wished success for Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi in his new position, expressed confidence that good bilateral relations between Iran and Switzerland during the presidency of Raisi will be strengthened more than ever.”
The agency added that Parmelin “also stressed that Switzerland is committed to strengthening dialogue and cooperation with Iran aiming at increasing stability and prosperity in the region, and considers it in the interest of all.”
The Swiss government told the Post on Tuesday:“The Swiss Government took note of the presidential election in Iran on 18 June 2021. In accordance with its protocol practice, letters of congratulations are sent to new heads of state or government of states with which Switzerland maintains diplomatic relations.”
“We believe that maintaining a continuous and in-depth dialogue with Iran – including on human rights issues – is the best way to defend Switzerland’s interests and values.”
Karmel Melamed, an Iranian-American journalist and activist for religious minorities in Iran, said “It’s truly shameful and sad when the Swiss president along with other major leaders in Europe are groveling at the feet of the ayatollah regime to send greetings for their appointment of a Raisi, a man who has committed major crimes against humanity. It seems as if European leaders are more interested in their financial interests with the ayatollahs instead of basic human rights for the people of Iran, who obviously oppose this regime.”
Switzerland represents the diplomatic interests of the US government because the US broke off relations with the Islamic Republic after it took US diplomatic personnel hostage in 1979.