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Thursday, November 27, 2014

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Last week, Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor investigating the bombing at the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, accused Iran of building a terrorist network throughout South America.

In a 502-page indictment, Nisman stated that the highest authorities in the Iranian Islamic Republic were responsible for the murders of the 85 people who were killed in the AMIA blast.

Last week, the American government stated that Iran has increased its support for global terrorism to levels not seen for 20 years. In its annual report on terrorism, the U.S. State Department said 2012 was “notable in demonstrating a marked resurgence of Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism.”

Last week, the House of Commons hosted Iran Accountability Week to publicize Iranian contempt at home and abroad for human rights, and Iranian involvement in planning and sponsoring terror around the world. An initiative of Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, the far-reaching, all-party program was an educational landmark, bringing acknowledged experts to Parliament Hill to help document an authoritative legal docket, so to speak, with long, hard evidence of irrefutable charges against Tehran.

“We are witness to state-sanctioned assaults that are tantamount to crimes against humanity, including the highest per capita rate of executions in the world; the imprisonment and silencing of more journalists and bloggers than any other country; the persistent and pervasive assault on women’s rights; the targeting of religious and ethnic minorities, particularly the Baha’i and the Kurds; the criminalization of fundamental freedoms of speech, association and assembly, and the imprisonment of opposition leaders, human rights defenders, and the lawyers who would defend them,” Cotler told the Jerusalem Post.

And last week, the government of Canada adopted the bold decision to ban nearly all imports from, and exports to, Iran. In announcing the measure, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird specifically referred to Iran’s “nuclear program and [its] abhorrent human rights records and continued support for international terrorism around the world.”

Ottawa’s announcement last week follows the imposition of partial sanctions last December and the closing of the Canadian embassy in Tehran and the expulsion of Iranian diplomats in September. 

Given the nature of bilateral trade between the countries, Baird’s announcement will have mostly symbolic rather than substantive implications. But the symbolism is important, the message is indispensable, and the moral conviction is exemplary. 

We commend the government for its decision and all the parliamentarians who joined in the Iran Accountability initiative. Once again, in matters of moral clarity regarding Iran, Canada leads.

It was a bad week for Iran, but perhaps a good week for the world.

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