Charles Michel expresses the EU’s condolences after the death of the Iranian president and makes a controversy: “Shame on you!”

The President of the European Council Charles Michel and the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell expressed the EU’s “condolences” after the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi, sparking outraged reactions on social networks.

“The EU expresses its sincere condolences for the death of President Raïssi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdolahian, as well as other members of their delegation and crew in a helicopter accident. Our thoughts are with families”, Charles Michel said Monday morning on the social network

A little later, Josep Borrell published a press release, in which “the European Union presents its condolences” after this “tragic helicopter accident”. These messages sparked scandalized reactions on social networks, from elected officials, political leaders and anonymous people, some of whom used the keyword “not in my name”.

“Can you look into the eyes of the courageous women and freedom fighters of Iran? (…) Shame on you,” Swedish MEP David Lega (EPP, right) reacted on X. Former Belgian Secretary of State Theo Francken (N-VA, Flemish nationalists) also denounced “European condolences for the death of a butcher and a cruel mass murderer.” “Not in my name”, said also indicated on X the Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders.

The day before, the EU had activated its mapping system to help Iran find the helicopter, in response to a request from that country. But this announcement by the European Commissioner in charge of humanitarian aid, Janez Lenarcic, who used the keyword “EU solidarity” had already provoked strong criticism.

“What a miserable hashtag, what mockery of the courageous human rights defenders in Iran,” reacted Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, German MP for the liberal FDP party and candidate in the European elections. European Commissioner Janez Lenarcic justified himself on Monday, indicating that the activation “on request” of the Copernicus satellite system “to facilitate a search and rescue operation is not an act of political support for a regime”. “It is simply an expression of the most basic humanity,” he said.

Iran is targeted by EU sanctions over its nuclear activities, its military support for Russia’s war against Ukraine, and human rights violations there. They were reinforced after the repression of protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman arrested for non-compliance with the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. A Swedish diplomat working for the EU, Johan Floderus, is currently detained in Iran where he faces the death penalty on espionage charges.

charles michel

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