Canada's parliament rejects diplomatic relations with Iran

MPs call for the IRGC to be listed as a terrorist entity.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, April 24, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/CHRIS WATTIE)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, April 24, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CHRIS WATTIE)
Liberal MPs from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s party joined conservative lawmakers in the House of Commons last week to vote against the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Tory Party motion (the conservatives) also called for Canada to label the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization.
“The Liberal government surprised many people, myself included, when it voted in favor of a Conservative motion calling for a cessation of negotiations to re-establish diplomatic ties with Iran and for a designation of the IRGC as a listed terrorist entity in Canada. These commitments signal an abrupt departure from the Trudeau government’s foreign policy on Iran,” Sheryl Saperia, Director of Policy for Canada at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
 She added that “While the motion is non-binding, Ottawa is to be wholly commended. The Iranian regime has shown no remorse for, nor any indication to change its terrorist sponsorship, human rights abuses and incitement to hatred, and does not deserve to be rewarded with a normalized relationship with Canada.”
According to the text of the motion, the “House strongly condemn the current regime in Iran for its ongoing sponsorship of terrorism around the world, including instigating violent attacks on the Gaza border” and “condemn the recent statements made by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for genocide against the Jewish people.”
 The motion urged “the government to immediately cease any and all negotiations or discussions with the Islamic Republic of Iran to restore diplomatic relations” and “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.”
The last section of the motion states that the lawmakers “stand with the people of Iran and recognize that they, like all people, have a fundamental right to freedom of conscience and religion, [and] 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.”
US President Donald Trump designated the IRGC a terrorist organization in October. Canada’s government during the tenure of conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2012 pulled the plug on diplomatic relations with Iran. Then-foreign minister John Baird justified the termination of bi-lateral relations with Iran because “Iran is among the world’s worst violators of human rights. It shelters and materially supports terrorist groups.” He also said Iran’s support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was cause for the break in diplomacy.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said that: “These polices will be to Canada’s detriment and will not serve international peace and security,” according to Iran state-controlled media.
Conservative MP Erin O’Toole told Canada’s National Post newspaper that the motion revealed that “There was just a mounting pile of evidence to show that we cannot normalize a regime that is the most – I’ve called it for a couple of years now – the most destabilizing and dangerous nation of the world.”