Attention News/Political Editors
Statement by the Canadian Coalition for Democracies
Iran's game, Canada's move
Ottawa, Canada, April 4, 2007 -- The Iranian hostage drama is a test that the West must not fail.
Iran has two strategic reasons for this outrage. First, Iran is testing the West to see if it is capable of any meaningful response to a clear escalation. If Iran's rulers feel little or no pain as a consequence of this crime, increasingly dangerous escalations will follow. Iran has reliably followed this pattern since the West reacted with weakness and disunity to the seizure of American hostages in 1979.
Second, Iran is ratcheting up tensions so that it can, at a time of its choosing, release the hostages. The West will then breath a sigh of relief and a feeling of 'Peace in our Time' will make the West less willing to confront the real crisis, which is a nuclear Iran threatening the annihilation of other nations and exporting terror around the world.
For Canada, this international crime is of particular significance. Canadian sailors in the same region have been boarding merchant vessels since 1991. If there is a muted response to the abduction and abuse of the British sailors, then Canadians could easily be next.
Since 1979, provoke-and-escalate has been Iran's game. At little cost to itself, Iran has created the racist-supremacist Hezbollah, a proxy that has killed Americans, Europeans, Argentineans, Iranian exiles, Iraqis, Lebanese, Israelis and others, and has carried out targeting reconnaissance in Canada. Through Hezbollah, Iran is the enabler in Syria's destruction and occupation of Lebanon. If Iraq is allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, the pattern of the past 28 years guarantees that the escalation will be unstoppable.
The Stephen Harper government has adopted leadership positions before in foreign affairs, and it is in our interests to do so again. The weak response of Europe, even in the face of 15 Europeans being abducted, coerced and paraded before the media in contravention of the Geneva Convention, can be offset by a strong response from Canada, Great Britain, Australia and the United States. As a leader in dealing with the most significant threat to our future, Canada can undertake some practical steps:
- End Canada's $300 million in imports from Iran;
- Prohibit Canadian investment in Iran, especially in its oil and gas sector;
- Ban Iranian banks and investors from Canada's financial markets;
- Encourage Canadian investors and public sector fund managers to divest from companies doing business with Iran;
- Freeze all Canadian assets of Iranian officials including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani, and their families;
- Impose a travel ban on all Iranian officials and their families;
- Provide material and financial support for those seeking to free Iranian political prisoners by assisting in publicizing their names and the abuses of the regime;
- Continue to provide sanctuary to those Iranians fleeing the regime's abuses.
- Identify and deport any remaining Iranian diplomats in Canada who spy on local Iranians in order to threaten their families in Iran, a charge frequently made by Iranian students and dissidents in Canada.
Prime Minister Harper will be meeting on Monday April 9th at Vimy Ridge with world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of that battle. It is an opportunity for Canada to let the people of Britain know that we stand behind them in deed as well as word, as we would hope they would do for us if those sailors had been Canadian.
Unless Iran is finally made to understand that it will pay a price for its crimes, the escalation will continue and we will have many more Vimy Ridges to commemorate.
For more information, please contact
Naresh Raghubeer, Executive Director, CCD
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Founded in 2003, the Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD) is a non-partisan, multi-ethnic, multi-denominational organization of concerned Canadians dedicated to national security and the protection and promotion of democracy at home and abroad. CCD focuses on research, education and media publishing to build a greater understanding of the importance of national security and a pro-democracy foreign policy. http://canadiancoalition.com