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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:44 pm    Post subject: Liberals risk losing the Iranian Canadian vote ? Reply with quote

( the Iran protests haven't generated a lot of attention in Canada , although many high profile conservatives have posted comments about them , not so much from the liberals . they have not been vocal at all and one Iranian /liberal mp , even put out a bizarre tweet referring to the current iran government as democratically elected , ( which everyone knows is not true , they haven't had a truly democratic election in Iran in a long time )

Liberal MP Majid Jowhari's Iran tweets roil his heavily Iranian riding

Richmond Hill MP says use of 'elected government' in tweet 'overshadowed my intent'

Evan Dyer · CBC News
January 4, 2018

Majid Jowhari
Richmond Hill MP Majud Jowhaari tweeted that he hopes "the brave nation of Iran have the opportunity to air their legitimate financial, social and political concerns with the support of their elected government." (CBC)


The Liberal MP for Richmond Hill is facing the ire of many of his Iranian-Canadian constituents after posting a tweet many see as an attempt to legitimize the theocratic government in Iran.

Iranian-born Majid Jowhari was elected in the 2015 election to represent Canada's most Iranian riding. But his Iranian-Canadian constituents, many of whom strongly oppose Iran's regime, have become some of his fiercest critics.

On Dec. 30, as the protests in Iran were building, Jowhari put out two tweets containing Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland's official statement supporting the right of Iranians to protest

Jowhari added his own thoughts.

"As our government is closely monitoring the ongoing protests in Iran; it is my sincere hope that the brave nation of #Iran have the opportunity to air their legitimate financial, social and political concerns with the support of their elected government, in a secure environment and without the fear of persecution."

That seemingly innocuous statement raised a number of flags for Iranian-Canadians, starting with Jowhari's use of the word "elected."

Many also were astonished by Jowhari's description of Iranians protesting "with the support" of their government.

One of the most popular chants, as heard in videos of the protests emerging from Iranian cities, has been "marg bar diktator" or "death to the dictator."

In a statement to CBC News late Thursday, Mr Jowhari responded: "Having had the opportunity to hear from a broad range of perspectives over the past few days, it's clear to me that the word 'elected' has overshadowed my intent: that I implore all levels of the Iranian authorities to exercise utmost restraint and fully respect the rights of the Iranian people to freely assemble and to express themselves without fear of persecution or retaliation."

Constituents upset

For some of his constituents, though, the damage was already done.

"If I can put it in one word: disgusted," says Richmond Hill realtor Hamid Gharajeh, who says Jowhari's actions since his election have shocked his Iranian-Canadian constituents.

"Ever since he's been elected, all he's been doing is trying to work with the existing government of Iran, and trying to get them involved in Canadian politics, inviting members of parliament of this so-called government that has not been elected by the Iranian people."

The Iranian diaspora in Canada is mostly deeply mistrustful of the Iranian government. Many Iranian-Canadians fear its ability to harm dissidents overseas, and fear even more its power over their families and friends in Iran.

Gharajeh says that's why the "elected" comment has caused particular outrage.

"The entire world, not only the Iranians, know this was a sham election. It's not a democratic process."

In Iran, candidates are vetted by an unelected Guardian Council, and only those deemed loyal to the principles of the Islamic Revolution and to unelected Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are permitted to stand.

"The only feature of democracy is the voting, which is a joke," says Richmond Hill resident Farrokh Zandi, who teaches economics at York University's Schulich School of Business.

"There's usually one candidate who's really evil and one who's slightly less evil. So people vote for the one who's less evil."

Controversial meeting

Gharajeh says Jowhari's constituents were previously appalled when he invited a delegation of Iranian parliamentarians to visit him in his office and discussed setting up a parliamentary friendship group between the two countries, as well as re-opening Tehran's shuttered embassy in Ottawa.

Iranian-Canadians were particularly troubled, he says, that the Iranian delegation included people with strong links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC), the enforcers of the ayatollahs' regime.
Iranian-Canadians, Liberal MP call on Ottawa to re-establish relations with Iran
U.S. says it has authority to hold Iran accountable for protesters' deaths

Zandi says the community knew little about Jowhari's politics when he won the Liberal nomination, and the Liberal wave that swept the GTA carried him into office.

"It became more apparent where he stood after the election," says Zandi. "There's a great deal of disenchantment and anger against Mr Jowhari."

At the time, Jowhari told local media that the meeting was a legitimate effort to exchange views, and not an endorsement.

"It just means we are sitting at the same table and working on understanding the issues and we as Canadians have serious concerns," he told Yorkregion.com. "If we don't tell them, who will?"

But Jowhari's contacts with Iranian officials, and his sponsorship of an online petition to reopen relations with Tehran, irritated another prominent Richmond Hill Liberal and Iranian-Canadian.

The provincial member of parliament for Richmond Hill is Reza Moridi, who is also Ontario's Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.

"The community at large should be concerned if he is supposed to be representing the people of Richmond Hill, to be their voice in Ottawa and instead he is lobbying with the Iranian regime," Moridi said after the meeting in January.​

Canada broke off diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in September 2012.

CBC News contacted the Prime Minister's Office for reaction to Jowhari's tweets, but PMO passed the inquiry on to Global Affairs, which merely referred back to previous general statements on the Iranian protests.

Officials at PMO and GAC ignored follow-up requests for the Trudeau government to state its position on Jowhari's comments.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( this same mp has been calling for the re opening of Canada's embassy in Iran for some time and to re-establish relations )

Iranian-Canadians, Liberal MP call on Ottawa to re-establish relations with Iran

'An absence of diplomatic representation hurts the people of both countries,' says MP Majid Jowhari

By Peter Zimonjic, CBC News Posted: Sep 14, 2016 7:46 PM ET| Last Updated: Sep 14, 2016 9:21 PM ET

Richmond Hill MP Majid Jowhari says the e-petition he has sponsored, calling on the government to re-establish relations with Iran, will serve 'as an asset in furthering the government's agenda.'

One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal MPs has joined forces with the Iranian Canadian Congress in pushing the government to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran and reopen embassies in both countries.

The petition containing more than 5,600 names is sponsored by Richmond Hill, Ont., MP Majid Jowhari, who says it will serve "as an asset in furthering the government's agenda."

"Our government's position is that Canada severing ties with Iran had no positive consequences for anyone, not for Canadians, not for the people of Iran, not for our Canadian allies, and not for global security," Jowhari told reporters during a news conference on Parliament Hill.

"An absence of diplomatic representation hurts the people of both countries," he added.

Bijan Ahmadi, president of the Iranian Canadian Congress, said that ever since the former Conservative government cut ties with Iran in 2012, expelling Iranian diplomats from Canada, Ottawa has been unable to talk directly to Iran.

"Canada has to rely on other countries, in this case, Italy, to do the communication for us," he said. "This is not a good policy. Canada, to protect the interests of its citizens, needs to directly talk to the Iranian authorities."

"We can only ask our allies to take this matter to a certain extent," he added.

Without that ability, Iranian-Canadians cannot get their passports renewed or secure birth and death certificates, said Ahmadi. It also means that Iranians in Iran cannot secure visas to visit relatives in Canada and Canadians travelling in Iran have no consular services should they need them, he said.

No news on Homa Hoodfar

Jowhari was asked about the plight of Homa Hoodfar, 65, an Iranian-Canadian academic jailed in Iran since June 6. She has been charged with collaborating with a hostile government against national security and with propaganda against the state — charges her family says are trumped up.

"This is an open case that our government is working hard to address and we are very concerned about the health and well-being and continued detention of Dr. Hoodfar, and our government is working very close with its allies to make sure that we will secure a release, safe release, as soon as possible," he said.

Homa Hoodfar
Iranian-Canadian academic Homa Hoodfar has been held incommunicado in Tehran's Evin prison since June 6. (Canadian Press)

On Wednesday, 20 former United Nations special human rights investigators called for Iran to release Hoodfar, saying her work poses no threat to Iranian security.

Hoodfar suffers from a serious neurological condition and the family has also said requests for a checkup by an independent specialist doctor have been ignored.

Nearly 5,000 academics worldwide have signed a petition this summer in support of Hoodfar, with some rallying outside the Iranian Embassy in Dublin last week.

Relations already beginning to warm

During the election campaign, Justin Trudeau made it known that if he was elected he would seek to re-engage with Iran, not because disagreements were over between the two countries, but because diplomatic isolation was ineffective, he argued.

In February, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion began that process, announcing the government would amend "broad-reaching autonomous sanctions against Iran to allow for a controlled economic re-engagement, including lifting the broad ban on financial services, imports and exports."

Other sanctions related to nuclear proliferation and ballistic missiles have remained in place.

In June, Dion said talks between the two countries have started and that things would proceed step by step "at the official level, in neutral territory."

In an email Thursday, global affairs spokesperson Jocelyn Sweet said "a precise timeline has not been determined" for the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Iran.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 10055
Reputation: 321.8Reputation: 321.8
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the protests are not enough for trudeau to considering ending his plan to restore diplomatic relations between the 2 countries , the big question is what does Canada gain from having diplomatic relations with Iran ? )

01/02/2018 16:06 EST | Updated 01/02/2018 20:13 EST

Trudeau's Plan To Renew Ties With Iran In Spotlight Amid Deadly Protests

Chrystia Freeland has called on Iranian authorities to show restraint.

Lee Berthiaume, Canadian Press

AP via CP

A university student attends a protest inside Tehran University while a smoke grenade is thrown by anti-riot Iranian police, in Tehran, Iran on Dec. 30, 2017.

OTTAWA — Several days of deadly protests in Iran are not deterring the Trudeau government from its efforts to restore diplomatic ties with Tehran — at least for now.

A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland indicated Tuesday that Canada is not contemplating ending talks with Iran, despite being "deeply troubled'' by the deaths of at least 21 protesters and the arrests of hundreds more.

"Canada will continue to engage with Iran on terms that we set, as it remains an effective tool to hold Iran to account, promote human rights and advance our consular interests,'' Adam Austen said in a statement.

Debate over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promise to restore diplomatic relations has been rekindled during six days of protest across Iran that have been described as the most significant challenge to the country's ruling regime in nearly a decade.

The unrest began Thursday when demonstrators gathered to express anger at unpaid wages and rocketing inflation before spreading into expressions of dissatisfaction with the current government.

Austen called on Iranian authorities to show restraint.

"Canada is deeply troubled by the deaths of protesters in Iran,'' he said. "We call on the Iranian authorities to uphold and respect democratic and human rights.''

Austen lauded Iranians "who are bravely exercising their basic right to protest peacefully'' and said Canada will continue to support their fundamental rights, "including freedom of expression.'' He added that the government will continue to monitor the protests closely and speak out about the treatment of protesters.

Austen also reiterated Canada's opposition to Iran's support for terrorist organizations, its threats toward Israel, its ballistic missile program and its support for the repressive regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.

Nevertheless, he said the government believes "open and frank dialogue'' is the way to hold Iran to account on human rights and to advance Canadian consular cases.

Previous government cut ties with Iran

Stephen Harper's Conservatives cut ties with Iran in 2012. The Liberals pledged during the 2015 federal election to restore relations with Iran, and Global Affairs officials have since held several rounds of quiet discussions with Iranian counterparts.

A senior official from Iran's foreign ministry told the state-run Mehr News Agency on Dec. 18 that the two sides had recently wrapped up a fifth round of talks, and that another had been planned for early in 2018.

"We are planning to deploy an Iranian delegation at the directorate-general level to Canada following the New Year holidays,'' Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh, general director of American affairs, was quoted as saying.

Even before the protests, federal opposition parties, academics and members of the Iranian-Canadian community were already sharply divided over the Liberal plan to restore diplomatic ties with Tehran and that continued Tuesday.

Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press

In this Dec. 30, 2017, photo, Iranian protesters chant slogans at a rally in Tehran.

"One of the prime minister's early commitments was to re-engage with Iran and re-open that embassy,'' said Iranian-Canadian lawyer and human rights activist Kaveh Shahrooz.

"Now I think frankly it's probably time to abandon that promise and focus on the moral act of supporting the protesters.''

The Harper government cited several reasons for closing the Canadian embassy in Tehran and ejecting all Iranian diplomats from Canada in 2012, including Iran's support for terror and its abysmal human rights record.

'We should be isolating the regime'

Those concerns remain valid and reason enough not to re-engage even without the protests, said Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O'Toole, who criticized what he saw as a weak Liberal response to the demonstrations.

"At this time, and with what Iran is doing in the wider region, we don't think we should be focusing on improving relations,'' O'Toole said. "We should be isolating the regime.''

Yet others, such as NDP foreign affairs critic Helene Laverdiere, said the protests underscore the need for Canada to actually have a diplomatic presence on the ground in Iran to monitor and try to influence events.

"Of course, if it reaches a point where we say, 'Look, we cannot move further into renewing diplomatic relations,' it may reach that point,'' Laverdiere said.

"But I think at this time, it's more important to look towards the future and press the point that Iranian authorities need to respect the right to protest and all sides need to avoid violence.''

Thomas Juneau, an expert on Middle East politics at the University of Ottawa, said the Liberals knew the Iranian regime was brutal and repressive when they promised to re-engage with Tehran.

"The broader calculus that it would be in Canada's interests to have an embassy in Iran doesn't change,'' he said. "(The protests) are something to keep in mind, but it doesn't fundamentally change anything.''

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Liberals risk losing the Iranian Canadian vote ?

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