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Trudeau must face facts on Iranian regime

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OP-ED

by Candice Malcolm

Toronto Sun
December 9, 2016

The Trudeau government is quietly working to strike a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

After becoming Prime Minister, Trudeau lifted virtually all economic sanctions against Iran. During the UN General Assembly meeting in September, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion met with regime officials to discuss the status of Canada-Iran relations.

Then, just last month, two Iranian MPs in the Trudeau government hosted an invitation-only roundtable with members of the Iranian community in Toronto. The event was held to discuss re-opening diplomatic ties – but was criticized for being stacked with pro-regime voices.

So, why should Canada reengage with the world’s number one state-sponsor of terrorism?

The Harper government cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012, following Great Britain’s decision to do the same after the UK embassy in Tehran was raided and ransacked. There was, and continues to be, fear for the safety of Westerners in Iran, since the regime routinely kidnaps visitors and uses them as pawns in government negotiations.

Besides the safety of our diplomats, there are many other reasons why Canada cut ties with Iran.

Its elite military unit – the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp – is listed as a terrorist entity under Canada’s Criminal Code. Iran openly funds and trains other terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban.

Iran has maniacal nuclear ambitions. It wants the capacity to build a nuclear weapon, which it once claimed would be used to “wipe Israel off the map.”

Iran is a regional pest. It openly works to destabilize countries across the Middle East – from Syria to Yemen, Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan.

Iran shamelessly props up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who continues to massacre civilians in the most gruesome and tragic war of our time.

Iran is, categorically, without a doubt, a villain on the world stage.

But that’s not even the main reason why Canada should avoid Iran. Canada must proceed with caution because the Iranian regime is a danger to our internal security.

In 2012, the Canadian government posted a notice on the Iranian embassy door ordering all Iranian officials to leave the country within five days. We wanted regime officials out of Canada as quickly as possible.

That’s because Iran uses its embassies to spy, to undermine the West and to promote Islamist terrorism. For instance, Hamid Mohammadi, a diplomat working as a “cultural counsellor” in the Iranian embassy,

penned a Persian-language article urging the Iranian community in Canada to “remain loyal” to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He told them to “resist being melted into the dominant Canadian culture” and to work to “occupy high-level key positions” in government and society in order to “be of service to our beloved Iran.”

The Iran embassy regularly hosted and funded conferences for invited guests only. These events sought to reach sympathetic Muslims – to recruit, persuade and intimidate them to join the Islamic Republic’s network.

Iran’s activities in Canada were not out of character.

In Argentina, Iran used its embassy to mastermind a terrorist bombing that killed 85 people. It used its embassies in France and Germany to assassinate Iranian dissidents.

A recent report by Centre for Secure Free Society noted that Iran’s embassies “function more as intelligence centers than diplomatic outposts.”

Iran is engulfed in a dangerous game of espionage, terrorism and war. Its embassies are not used to facilitate dialogue, but to promote the regime’s fundamentalist worldview.

Rather than face these facts, the Trudeau government is trying to befriend the nefarious regime. But Trudeau’s naivety could have a serious and long-lasting impact on Canada’s safety and security.

Image: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

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