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Canada’s House Of Commons Votes Against Relations With Iran

Canadian flags line the walkway in front of the Parliament in Ottawa, Ontario. File photo

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reversed Canada’s long-stated goal to improve relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On June 12, the government sided with an opposition motion in parliament demanding that Ottawa "immediately cease all negotiations or discussions" on restoring diplomatic relations with Iran.

The motion was introduced by a Conservative member of parliament Garnett Genuis reads as follows:

That the House: (a) strongly condemn the current regime in Iran for its ongoing sponsorship of terrorism around the world, including instigating violent attacks on the Gaza border; (b) condemn the recent statements made by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for genocide against the Jewish people; (c) call on the government to (i) immediately cease any and all negotiations or discussions with the Islamic Republic of Iran to restore diplomatic relations, (ii) demand that the Iranian Regime immediately release all Canadians and Canadian permanent residents who are currently detained in Iran, including Maryam Mombeini, the widow of Professor Kavous Sayed-Emami, and Saeed Malekpour, who has been imprisoned since 2008; and (d) stand with the people of Iran and recognize that they, like all people, have a fundamental right to freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other forms of communication, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association.

Former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper severed Canada’s diplomatic ties with Iran in September 2012 when he closed the Canadian embassy in Tehran and expelled Iranian diplomats from Ottawa. But Canada continued to hold on to the objective of restoring relations with Iran.

In introducing the motion, Genuis presented a long list of reasons why Iran should be considered an undesirable actor, with whom all contacts should be severed. But what was noteworthy was his insistence that the ultimate solution is a change of regime in Tehran.

“Political change in Iran is the most important and reachable strategic objective for us in the region. It would, in a moment, dramatically reduce the security threats posed to Israel and our other allies”, Genuis argued, adding, “Most importantly, it would mark the extension of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law to over 80 million people who do not presently enjoy it.”

With reporting by DPA