Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim RaisiReuters/Majid Asgaripour/WANA

A group of Republican lawmakers blasted the European Union for its decision to send a senior official to the inauguration of Iran’s new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, The Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday.

The EU sent Enrique Mora, the political body’s point man for ongoing discussions with Iran over its nuclear program, to attend Raisi’s swearing-in ceremony last week. Mora’s attendance at the ceremony came just days after Iran carried out a deadly drone strike on an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) and seven of her GOP colleagues called the EU decision "disgraceful" in a letter sent Thursday to the body’s high representative and vice president of the European Commission, Josep Borrell.

The lawmakers said the EU is providing legitimacy to an election that was widely panned as rigged. They also said the decision disregards Raisi’s role in mass human-rights abuses, including his decision to approve the extrajudicial killings of dissidents in the late 1980s, which earned him the moniker of the "Butcher of Tehran."

"It is disgraceful and disheartening that the European Union continues to tout its support for human rights and democratic principles abroad, yet it simultaneously legitimizes Ebrahim Raisi's election. Raisi is a murderer who killed thousands of his own people and came to power in an election that was neither free nor fair," Tenney and her colleagues wrote, according to the Free Beacon. "High Representative Borrell should uphold the European Union’s human-rights principles and stand with the Iranian people rather than honor and empower their corrupt and abusive leaders."

Tenney and the other lawmakers said in the letter the EU’s presence at Raisi’s swearing-in is an insult to Iranian protesters who have been rallying against the country in recent weeks.

"The Iranian people oppose this regime’s brutality, and they deserve the opportunity to express their views without being massacred and oppressed by their leaders," the letter said. "Your actions minimized the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom and legitimized their oppressors."

The letter was also signed by Reps. Tim Burchett (R-TN), Scott Perry (R-PA), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Brian Mast (R-FL), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Fred Keller (R-PA), and Ronny Jackson (R-TX).

Earlier this week, several members of the European Parliament penned a letter to Borell condemning the participation of Mora in Raisi’s inauguration.

Israel's Foreign Ministry was also critical of the EU's move, calling it a "failure in judgement."

The official said that the EU's decision to send its representative to the ceremony inaugurating the "Butcher of Tehran" as the country's new president just days after Iran killed two civilians, one of them a citizen of an EU state, was "puzzling and indicated a lack of judgment."

"The EU's decision is especially worrisome in light of the fact that the new Iranian president has the blood of thousands of Iranian citizens on his hands provides legitimacy to Ayatollahs' repressive regime and will breed only more violence and aggression," said the official.