Last Sunday I attended an event organized by the Iranian Canadian Congress, an organization that claims to represent the Iranian Canadian Community.
The event was about Canadian Policy towards Iran with a panel of speakers which included Ramin Jahanbegloo, Ali Ehsasi, Houshang Hassan Yari, Kaveh Shahrooz and David Mousavi.
The general view of the panelists was: no to war, no to sanctions and no to the hard stand the Canadian Government has taken against the Islamic Regime. In fact one of the panelists went as far as to say the Harper Government was irresponsible in its dealings with the Regime, and criticized the Prime Minister for having stated on numerous occasions that he was “afraid of Iran.”
Some of the speakers also urged the Iranian Canadians to contact their local politicians and voice their “concerns” over the tough stand Canada has taken against the Iranian Regime.
Not surprisingly there was very little talk about the threats posed by the Islamic Regime, including the real possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons, as well as Iran’s financial support for international terrorism. While the speakers were quick to condemn the Canadian Government for taking a tough stand against the Regime, no such condemnation was forthcoming against the Regime in Iran and no solutions were offered on the issue of helping the Iranian people over throw the Islamic Regime in Iran.
Disturbingly enough the views of the panelists and the interests represented were very much in line with the view points and the interests of the Iranian Regime. There were no speakers on the panel who discussed the views and interests of the Iranian People.
During the question and answer period I made the statement that “while I condemn war or any military intervention in Iran, this was a panel discussion and the only views and interests that were represented were views and interests of the Regime. Where were the panelists speaking out on behalf of Iranian people and their interests? I further stated that the Iranian Canadian Congress does not represent the Iranian Canadian Community and their views, and that we would make sure Canadian Government was aware of this.”
It is important to note one activist was removed from the premises and threatened with arrest for peacefully handing out flyers outside of the venue, while a second activist was threatened with a civil suit for voicing his concerns about the organization and the event itself.
This is a crucial time in history for Iran and Iranians. The Regime is becoming weaker every day, the international community including Canada is finally taking a tougher stand against Iran including the imposition of smart sanctions related to gas and oil. Dissent in Iran is very strong.
As the Iranian Canadian Community we need to become active and vocal and politically involved in Canada, in order to prevent opportunistic organizations such as Iranian Canadian Congress to take advantage of our silence by posing themselves as the representatives of our community.
We need to make sure the Canadian Government is aware of the views and interest of the Iranian people, whether its support for smart oil and gas sanctions or diplomatic isolation in order to weaken the Regime and allow the Iranian people to overthrow the Regime.
I urge the Iranian Canadian Community to get involved, we need to be loud and clear in sending the message that the Iranian Canadian Congress or any other organization whose interests are aligned with the interests of the Islamic Regime do not represent our community.
Special thanks to Faramarz Shiravand for providing the pictures.
Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom In Iran
By: Sayeh Hassan, Barrister & Solicitor, Pro-democracy activist and blogger