Here's How (and How Not) to Celebrate the Death of the Butcher of Tehran

Pavel Bednyakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Iranian strongman Ebrahim Raisi — aka "the butcher of Tehran" — is dead in a Sunday helicopter crash that his countrymen and women are celebrating, so now would be the perfect time for the New York Times to avoid interviewing the Iranian dissident he tried to have assassinated.


Wait, what?

Raisi was "elected" president in 2021 after decades of coming up through the bloody ranks of Iran's hardcore Shiite Muslim theocracy. He earned the "butcher" moniker for his part on the 1988 "death committee" that quickly sentenced more than 5,000 dissidents to death — and just as quickly had them killed. Dissidents reckon that Raisi is directly responsible for the deaths of around 30,000 Iranians.

Masih Alinejad is a 47-year-old Iranian-born American journalist who has spent the last 20-plus years reporting on Iran's endless human rights abuses, particularly against women. The regime has tried to kill her on multiple occasions, the most recent in 2022. She also avoided a kidnapping plot in 2021.

Farnaz Fassihi is another Iranian-American journalist, but it would be fair to call her a "regime lackey" instead. She's the New York Times United Nations bureau chief and also writes about Iran. As such, whatever else the New York Times reports on Raisi's death, Fassihi doesn't want anyone speaking to Alinejad about it — and she was caught on audio posted to X (formerly Twitter).


"This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner."

One question is whether an office meeting is really copyrighted material. Another question is why X honored the iffy-at-best DMCA takedown request. The New York Times has yet to correct or retract Fassihi's 2023 story that Raisi had eliminated the so-called "Morality Police," which continues to beat, jail, and murder women for "crimes" like refusing to cover themselves in public with a hijab.  

On a day like this, I'd certainly like to know what Alinejad has to say about Raisi's death, and NYT readers deserve to know for a change. The most recent NYT story featuring Alinejad is from February. 

But if the New York Times is guilty of a sin of omission (among many others, I know), how about this official response from Brussels?

Et tu, NATO?

And the Biden State Department, naturally.


Meanwhile, in Iran...

The death of a tyrant ought to be celebrated, and since I can't join those lovely ladies in Iran, I'd like to celebrate with David Burge.

It isn't like me to wish ill on someone or to say horrible things about them right after their violent death, but Raisi earned it. Whatever happens next in the confusion, let's hope the people of Iran can make the most of it. 

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