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Sayeh Hassan
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Jusitn Trudeau
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Sayeh Hassan: Justin Trudeau's Policy of Engagement with Iran--Wrong Way to Go

by Sayeh Hassan, April 29, 2013

Justin Trudeau Believes in “Engagement” with the Islamic Regime in Iran-What are the Implications?


In a recent interview with AlJazeera Justin Trudeau’s advisor Omar Alghabra stated: “ On the issue of Iran, Trudeau has clearly stated that he is for engagement.”


What are the implications of Mr. Trudeau’s belief that Islamic Regime should be “engaged”?


This statement is a direct threat to the pro-democracy movement in Iran which fights to overthrow the Islamic Regime in Iran (IRI). The IRI has no legitimacy in the eyes of the majority of the Iranian people. There are no free elections in Iran and the regime has managed to stay in power through the use of systematic force including torture, rape and execution of its opponents. By engaging the IRI and accepting it as the legitimate Iranian Government Mr. Trudeau would give this regime a much needed credibility and legitimacy boost, while isolating the Iranian people both in Iran and Canada.


By “engaging” the IRI Mr. Trudeau would be rolling back the clock to the time of Jean Chretien where “engagement” was the official government policy. It was during this time of “engagement” that the Iranian Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi was tortured and murdered in the notorious Evin Prison in Iran, and it was also during this time when the activities of the Islamic Regime Embassy in Ottawa started to blossom.


Canada has a large Iranian Canadian community many of whom have been forced to flee from Iran to save their own lives or the lives of individuals that they love. Canada has become a safe haven and a home for many Iranian Canadians like myself, who believe in the Canadian values of freedom and democracy. I feel safe and protected and able to voice my concerns about the Regime in Iran without fearing repercussions, in the way that I would if I was living in Iran.


What would happen once Mr. Trudeau starts “engaging” the IRI? Would he want to re-open the IRI Embassy or as many of us Iranian Canadians call it “The House of Terror?” Would he allow IRI government officials and their affiliates to travel free to Canada and roll over the red carpet? Would he allow the IRI to continue to intimidate the Iranian Canadian community while trying to infiltrate various Canadian entities? How safe would Canada be under those conditions?


How many of us would want to live in a Canada that sides with a brutal dictatorship while disregarding the rights of millions of Iranians?


Perhaps Mr. Trudeau would be wise to engage the “pro-democracy” movement in Iran instead of the dictatorship. He can either stand with the Iranian people or with the Islamic Regime, but he cannot do both. Let’s hope he chooses the side that adhere to the Canadian values rather than a dictatorship that is a global threat to us all.



Sayeh Hassan is a criminal defence lawyer, blogger and pro-democracy activist

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