By SHARIF BEHRUZ
published in Rudaw: http://www.rudaw.net/english/science/op-ed-contributors/5188.html
Canada severed its diplomatic relations with the regime in Iran by the abrupt closing of its embassy in Tehran and expelling the regime’s diplomats in Ottawa on Friday. Canadian officials cited safety concerns for diplomats in Tehran among other disputes and concerns Canada has had with the regime in Iran.
Even though diplomatic and trade relations are common practices for countries to bridge their gaps and open each other’s doors to opportunities, the regime in Iran, since its inception, has eluded all the practices of good governance to conduct itself as a responsible member of the international community. The Islamist regime in Iran has turned Iran into a prison for all Iranians and strives to take the international community hostage as well; hence, the Canadian Government’s diplomatic measures against the regime are well warranted:
The regime in Iran is a leading sponsor of terrorism and a terrorist state; it is one of the most violators of human rights on the face of the earth; it is an immense threat to international and regional peace, security and stability: The regime is providing increasing military assistance to the Assad regime now at a bloody war with its people; it refuses to comply with numerous UN resolutions pertaining to its suspicious nuclear program; it consistently threatens the existence of sovereign states and engages in racist rhetoric and incites genocide; and last but not least, it shelters and materially supports terrorist groups.
Now that Canada has broken off relations with this menace regime, it must open up direct channels of dialogue with the Iranian people. First, Canada should follow the United States lead by creating a virtual embassy where Iranians of all strides can have direct access to consular and visa services for Canadian-Iranians and for Iranians who want to come to Canada. Establishing consular offices in some of the countries bordering Iran (preferably Turkey, Pakistan and in the Caspian Sea area in major cities closer to Iran) would be a step in the right direction.
The Government of Canada should continue to take decisive steps to protect Iranian-Canadians at home and abroad from the threat of Iranian state-terrorism. The Islamist regime in Iran has assassinated more than 150 of its dissidents outside its border including Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi, then the General Secretary of Democratic Party of Iran Kurdistan exactly 20 years ago in Berlin Germany. Other recent acts of state engineered terror against the nationals of other countries, including Saudi Arabia and Israel are clear indications of Iranian regime’s determination to use terror whenever, wherever.
Now that Iranian regime has been officially listed by the Government of Canada as a state that supports terrorism, through The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, Canada should allow and assist the victims of Iranian regime’s state terrorism to sue perpetrators of terrorism for loss or damage that has occurred as a result of an act of terrorism committed anywhere in the world by the regime.
Canada can also assist the Iranian people to realize their long over-due dreams of freedom, democracy and rule of law by supporting and assisting the democratic and secular opposition groups who struggle to bring about freedom and democracy to Iran.
I wholeheartedly applaud the Canadian Government’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with the regime in Iran. This repressive regime is not the true representative of the Iranian people and it should not occupy the deserved seats of Iranians inside Iran or elsewhere.
* Sharif Behruz is a Kurdish-Canadian from Iran. He represents the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan in US and Canada.