TORONTO — Stronger international sanctions and diplomatic repercussions against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran must be put in place to keep the Iranian leader’s genocidal agenda in check, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler said recently.
This needs to be done in view of what he termed intolerable continued international “indifference” by the United Nations and the international community at large.
In Toronto to speak at Holy Blossom Temple, Cotler told an audience of about 200 that he had just put the finishing touches on an international petition that he plans to deliver to world leaders at the G20 and G8 summits next week.
His “Responsibility to Prevent Petition” of last December against Ahmadinejad’s Iran now boasts more than 100 signatories, Cotler said. The Liberal party’s special counsel on human rights and international justice said he recently met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and exhorted him to do more to counter the Iranian threat.
“I advised him that the UN has a responsibility, under Article 99 of the charter, to bring this issue before the Security Council,” Cotler said.
Cotler also met with Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and advised him that Canada should make Iran a priority in their discussions.
Cotler restated the four main threats posed by Iran that are articulated in the petition: nuclear capability, state-sanctioned incitement to genocide, sponsorship of international terrorism and massive repression of the country’s citizens.
All this constitutes a “toxic convergence” of threat, Cotler said. Iran today is “a genocide waiting to occur.”
Ahmadinejad has demonstrated nothing but “mocking defiance” of the international community, Cotler added.
Cotler’s petition with a comprehensive list of measures the international community can take has been signed by jurists, politicians and human rights figures, including Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, former UN human rights high commissioner Louise Arbour and Senator Roméo Dallaire, the former UN mission commander for Rwanda.
Asked about Ahmadinejad’s recent trip to the United States, where he was interviewed on television and appeared at the United Nations, Cotler said it’s all about the “culture of impunity” that surrounds a man bent on destroying Jews, Israel and even his own people.
“Here’s a person who belongs in the docket of the accused, and yet he’s received at the United Nations, he’s given a podium at a conference against nuclear weapons,” Cotler said. “You begin to think you’re living in Alice in Wonderland in international terms.”
Last week, Cotler rose in the House of Commons demanding that the government list the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity.
He called the IRGC a “leading international sponsor and perpetrator of global terrorism, responsible for the commission of more than 100 terrorist acts on every continent, while engaged in the massive domestic repression of its own people.”
Cotler said the government has been “considering” listing the IRGC as a terrorist entity for three years and that the time had now come for it to act.
In response, Peter Kent, minister of state of foreign affairs for the Americas, said the government viewed the IRGC as “an ongoing concern” and that it would “continue to consider the possibility of such sanction.”
With files from Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf