Over the weekend, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a United States independent, nonpartisan member organization, think tank, and publisher shocked Iranian Americans after deciding to invite the Islamic Republic of Iran’s current President, Ebrahim Raisi to speak at its Manhattan facility.
While there is no official announcement on CFR’s website, a member of the Council, Iranian Jewish writer and activist Roya Hakakian, wrote a post on X sharing information that she was invited to the meeting but turned down the invitation.
While the meeting’s exact date is unclear, the Islamic Republic President is expected to attend the United Nations (UN) annual General Assembly in New York City Sept 18-26.
“Thank you for this invitation, which, I’m afraid, I must decline. While I am an absolutist when it comes to the value of dialogue, I see the presence of Ebrahim Raisi at the Council on Foreign Relations as a political baptism for a man who has been implicated in countless crimes,” Hakakian responded to CFR’s invitation.
“Dialogue is reserved for those with whom we have disagreements. For criminals like Raisi, the only venue for conversation must be a court of law,” Hakakian added.
Many other Iranian Americans took to social media to denounce the decision by CFR, with some calling it “shameful,” given his past of ordering mass executions of political prisoners, torturing women and young girls, and cracking down on protesters last month following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic morality police.
This is not the first time a member of the radical Islamic Republic has been invited to a prestigious American institution.
In 2007, Columbia University invited then-Islamic Republic President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who infamously said the Jewish state of Israel should be “wiped off the map” and that the Holocaust is a “myth.”
“As a proud naturalized American citizen, I cannot help but think that providing such a storied platform to such a man will be legitimizing him, and it is, therefore, an insult to the memory of the protestors who were, and are, fighting for democracy, and it is, therefore, profoundly unamerican,” Hakakian told the CFR.