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The 'Butcher of Tehran' has perished: What does the future hold?

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attends a press conference concluding his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly, in New York City, September 20, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Last Sunday, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi died in a foggy-weather helicopter crash in a mountainous region of Iran. Reactions to his death are coming in amid converging narratives. Some narratives offer hope despite the Regime’s ongoing harsh theocracy under 85-year-old Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iranians, though, are celebrating Raisi’s death with fireworks and sweets. Yet the population suffers under the ironclad Ayatollah’s policies that endure—embedded in Shia Islam’s oppressive rule.

Why are Iranians celebrating the “Butcher of Tehran’s” death? Epoch Times cites Raisi’s judicial role on the “death committee” prior to his election in 2021. Human Rights Watch reported that, under Raisi, mass executions of thousands of political prisoners in Evin and Gohardasht prisons occurred in 1988 and beyond. Raisi called it “divine punishment” and a “proud achievement” for the regime. His evil disposition never changed when he attained the presidency in a low-turnout, possibly rigged vote. One of the most infamous examples of cruelty took place in 2022 amid protests about the death of Mahsa Amini murdered in police custody. Her crime? Not wearing a headscarf (hijab). The Islamic Regime adheres to inhumane actions against its own population and for its proxies against Jews and Israel. 

World leaders are adding to an interesting obituary of condolences including, for example, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, China, and Russia. Hamas, in its condolences, states they are mourning an “honorable supporter” of the “Palestinian resistance.” Pakistan and India observed a day of mourning. Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Al-Thani, sent condolences to the government and people of the Islamic Republic. Maybe it is bad manners to mention the truth about Raisi, the has-been probable successor to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But by the same token, who mourned Hitler?

However, on Monday the United Nations did mourn a Hitler—Raisi, the “Butcher of Tehran.” Russia, China, and Algeria requested that the UN Security Council stand up for a minute of silence to honor Raisi. U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood, stood up. Only one utterance of truths was spoken. Israeli U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan rightly condemned the council which “bowed its head for a man responsible for massacring and murdering thousands in Iran, in Israel, and around the globe.”

My good friend, author Marzi Amirizadeh—now an American citizen—knows first-hand about the Islamic Regime’s tyranny. The authorities arrested and imprisoned her in 2009 when she and a good friend covertly distributed 20,000 Bibles. Like many Iranians, she met Jesus in a dream. It transformed her life into one of hope, despite horrors that later followed her into prison. Miraculously released after nine months from Evin Prison’s hellish confines, Marzi is an advocate for her Iranian people, for the United States, and for Israel.

Marzi observes that before she was arrested, she talked to thousands who were receptive—and many also who had visions of Jesus. “There are many underground churches, and research shows that Iran has the fastest-growing church.” Marzi added an important fact: that “most Iranians do not consider themselves Muslims and believe the Islamic Regime does not represent them. They believe that Persian King Cyrus is their father and Iran has been taken hostage by terrorists.” She is prayerful that “after the fall, millions are going to worship Jesus.” Operation World reports that in 1979, only 500 Muslim-background believers were known—and now estimates that more than 1 million Iranians are Christians.   

Part of Marzi’s post on Facebook expresses the intensity of the facts: “Islamic Regime criminals like Raisi have the blood of countless innocent Iranians, Israelis, and other people on their hands. They are now burning in hell as millions of Iranians and people around the world are celebrating their death. However, we should not forget that the head of this evil octopus—the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his son—are alive. As long as he is in place, nothing will change because Raisi and the others were only his puppets.” 

Here is how Proverbs 28:15-16 describes the Islamic Regime’s leadership: “Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people. A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.”

In a post on Monday, Amir Tsarfati, president of Behold Israel, observed that “Israelis did not set off any fireworks after news of Raisi’s death.” But justifiably, Iranians did set off fireworks. He went on to add how lies take on a life of their own, this time due to a joke. Someone posted the joke saying that the helicopter pilot was a Mossad agent named “Eli Copter.” Israel haters are now calling it a FACT across the world. They will blame Israel in any way possible, even with jokes. Tsarfati adds, “His death spares other deaths.” I pray that Raisi’s replacement will not be more of the same. Stay watchful. 

As expected in any governmental change, speculation about a Raisi replacement is in the news—with an election in less than 50 days, according to their Constitution. However, the Persian-language television news station, Iranian International, reports that the Supreme Leader has plenipotentiary power (full authority to take independent action) over Iran’s government (executive, legislative, and judiciary). It mimics Muslim caliphs in the Middle Ages.  

With Iran’s first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, currently set to take over prior to an election, a fight is already unfolding with ex-president Hassan Rouhani (2013-2021) opposing the privileged Guardian Council, which passes muster on candidates. It is highly questionable whether the 85-year-old ailing Ayatollah Khamenei will allow an open election since he absolutely dismisses a preference for more moderate candidates.

Amid the ongoing war that the Islamic Regime is financing and directing against Israel, the longing for freedom in its population is only increasing. Added to economic crisis, policies will remain the same unless the population rises again to protest.

This article originally appears here and is posted with permission.

A speaker and consultant, Arlene Bridges Samuels authors the weekly feature column for The Christian Broadcasting Network/Israel on their Facebook and Blog since 2020. Previously she pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Retiring after nine years, she worked part-time for International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA as Outreach Director for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, often traveling to Israel since 1990. By invitation she attends the Israel Government Press Office (GPO) Christian Media Summits as a recognized member of Christian media worldwide. Read more of her articles at CBN Israel blog.

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