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Will Syrian Refugees be Revictimized by Canada’s re-engagement with Iran?

February 8, 2016, TORONTO — The Canadian government’s announcement that it will be exploring renewed diplomatic contacts, including the possibility of allowing Iran to reopen its embassy, is an opportunity to highlight Iranian human rights violations, says B’nai Brith. Canada closed its embassy and expelled Iranian diplomats in September of 2012, citing at the time that ‘the government of Iran is the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.’

“Iran remains the world’s premier state sponsor of terror and a serial abuser of human rights,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada. “The regime is known for the torture, rape and murder of women and the persecution of minorities, political opponents, journalists and members of the LGBTQ community. By using Hezbollah to directly enter the Syrian conflict and support the Assad regime, they are also complicit in the ongoing refugee crisis. While Canada is facilitating the resettlement of tens of thousands of displaced Syrians, we should all be concerned about the potential re-victimization of refugees who have suffered as a direct result of the criminal war begun by Assad and supported by Iranian money, men and materiel. “On the same day that Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion announced the government’s intention to drop unilateral sanctions and explore the renewal of diplomatic contacts, Iran’s military head, Maj. Gen. Ataollah Saleh, was quoted as saying that ‘Iran will continue developing its missile program’, in direct violation of international agreements. This is a regime that has clearly demonstrated it is only interested in rejoining the community of nations in order to fill its coffers so that it can expand its intercontinental ballistic missile program and fund its global terror proxies Hezbollah and Hamas.

“Canada must continue to hold Iran accountable for its actions, and human rights should never be sacrificed at the expense of our business interests. US Secretary of State John Kerry has directly acknowledged that Iran will will use portions of the tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief to support terrorism. Iran should be the exception to our government’s re-engagement in multilateralism, as renewing diplomatic contacts will only embolden the Khomeinist regime, and re-engagement will not advance human rights and security in the region.

“Prior to the closure of the Iranian embassy, the regime was subject to almost daily protests by human rights defenders in Canada. Iran has repeatedly violated international law by involving its diplomats, officials or proxy agents in numerous terror attacks and threats across the globe including the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, the AMIA Jewish community centre building in 1994, the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, the 2011 plot to bomb both the Israeli and Saudi embassies in Washington and murder Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir and the 2012 Burgas bus bombing.

“The security of Canadians must be paramount in any future debate about the reopening of the Iranian embassy. B’nai Brith and its League for Human Rights welcome the opportunity to further highlight Iranian human rights violations.”

For further information please contact:
Sam Eskenasi
Director of Communications
B’nai Brith Canada s
[email protected]
416-633-6224 x122