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Israeli envoy booted from UN gathering

Gilad Erdan interrupted a speech by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and was escorted from the General Assembly

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan holds a sign with an image of Mahsa Amini during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, September 19, 2023 ©  AFP / Spencer Platt

Israel’s permanent representative to the UN, Gilad Erdan, was escorted from the organization’s General Assembly on Tuesday and reportedly detained for interrupting a speech by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Erdan had held up an image of a young woman who died in Iranian police custody last year.

Raisi addressed the assembly on Tuesday, delivering a speech accusing the US of stoking the conflict in Ukraine and declaring that Washington’s “project to Americanize the world has failed.” 

The Israeli delegation walked out during the speech, but Erdan first approached the lectern while holding an image of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman whose death in police custody sparked violent protests across the Islamic Republic. 

Erdan was ejected from the hall, and video footage showed him being escorted through the UN building by security guards. Multiple media reports claimed that Erdan had been “detained,” although a UN spokesperson disputed that description of the diplomat’s treatment.

“UN security spoke to him,” the spokesperson told The Independent, adding that “at no time was the ambassador detained in any way, shape or form. As far as we are concerned, the incident is closed.”

Erdan has since shared several news articles on his X (formerly Twitter) account describing how he was “briefly detained.”

“I will never stop fighting for the truth and I will always expose the UN’s moral distortion,” the diplomat wrote. “Those who roll out the red carpet for murderers and antisemites must be held accountable for their actions!”

The circumstances of Amini’s death are strongly contested. While activist groups and Western-backed NGOs claimed that Amini was beaten to death by police after her arrest for improperly wearing a hijab, the Iranian government insisted that she died of a pre-existing medical condition. Last September, Iranian authorities released a video showing Amini collapsing in a police station lobby as she stood alone.


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