The Government of Iran continues to use amputation, flogging, torture, public execution and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishments to impose its will on the Iranian people. Religious, ethnic, linguistic and other minorities are discriminated against and their fundamental human rights violated by the Iranian regime. According to a recent report on the human rights situation in Iran by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, over the last year there have been persistent failures to uphold due process rights, a spike in the number of executions undertaken, as well as severe restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly and association.
The Jewish community is proud that, with the support of its like-minded partners, Canada successfully leads an annual resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran at the UN General Assembly. The adoption of this resolution sends a strong signal that the international community remains deeply concerned by Iran’s deteriorating human rights record, which it has an obligation to address seriously and comprehensively.
Iran’s heinous behaviour is not confined to its own territory, as it continues to represent the single greatest threat to regional and global security. Iran trains, arms, finances and directs terrorist organizations worldwide, and it is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians from Israel to Argentina. Iran has given Hamas and Hezbollah, both listed as terrorist entities under Canadian law, hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and it has provided extensive training and advanced weaponry to their operatives. Iranian weaponry has been sent to terror groups in both Afghanistan and Iraq for use against Western forces. In the recent Syrian atrocities, which claimed some 9,000 lives in the first 18 months following the Arab Spring, Iranian troops and military technology were sent to Syria to assist the Assad regime in conducting its brutal campaign.
There are concrete steps the Government of Canada can take to confront Iranian state-sponsored terrorism. For example, the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a nerve centre for global acts of terrorism should be recognized by listing the IRGC as a terrorist entity.
Since the discovery of Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities in 2002, Iranian nuclear proliferation has continued to expand in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations. The scale of the Iranian nuclear program far outstrips any possible legitimate civilian application, and the November 2011 report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, paints a grim picture of Iran on the cusp of developing nuclear weapons capability. As a result of these violations, the international community has imposed comprehensive sanctions on Iran’s nuclear, military, financial, and petroleum sectors in an attempt to bring the Islamic Republic into compliance with international law. In the hands of a regime that is brutally hostile to fundamental human rights and freedoms domestically and supportive of murderous terrorist organizations abroad, one that has repeatedly expressed the genocidal desire for a UN member state – Israel – to be wiped off the map, nuclear weapons capability represents an unacceptably serious threat.
The Jewish community supports the economic and diplomatic measures employed by Canada, particularly under the Special Economic Measures Act, and hopes Canada will continue to adapt to Iranian attempts at circumvention. It is our hope that negotiations with Iran will prove serious and substantial and will result in a peaceful end to Iran’s illegal nuclear program. Should the Iranian regime continue on its belligerent and dangerous path, Canada and the international community must be ready to apply further pressure with even stronger diplomatic measures, exhausting all peaceful efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis.
Updated August 2012