For the world and the Iranians themselves, it is the only solution

The world has known for some time that Iran is committed to acquiring nuclear weapons, despite the fact that this is an illegal pursuit according to international law. This combined with Ali Akbar Salehi, the regime’s atomic chief’s recent announcement that Iran has produced a first batch of yellowcake uranium and is self sufficient in the entire nuclear field cycle, should be of great concern to the international community.

The Islamic Regime in Iran has been a threat to the stability of the Middle East for years, in particular with its financial support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas. This threat has been further expanded by Ahmadinejads’ denial of the Holocaust, his statement that” Israel should be wiped off the world map” as well as the regime’s strong influence in certain parts of Iraq. One can only imagine how a nuclear Iran would pose a serious threat not only to an already unstable Middle East, but also to Europe and the West, including Canada.

The recent revelations by WikiLeaks have confirmed what many of us suspected: Iran's very own neighbors, the Arab States, have pointed the finger at Iran - not Israel, contrary to what so many so-called experts have been telling us - as their main threat and worry. They are right to do so.

While the international community should be seriously concerned about and focus on the nuclear issue, this should not be at the expense of the grave human rights violations in Iran.

For the past 31 years the regime has silenced the voices of opposition by using brutal force, by arbitrarily arresting dissidents, torturing, raping and executing them. The systematic human rights violations in Iran are not only geared towards dissidents, but also towards all religious and ethnic minorities, women, students, workers, journalists, lawyers and teachers to name a few groups.

Another group of individuals who are targeted are homosexual. Persecution of homosexuals in Iran came to light in July of 2005 when two young men aged 16 and 18 were executed in the city of Mashad on charges of homosexuality, and that persecution continues today.

The medieval practice of stoning is still being practiced by the Islamic Regime and there are currently tens of women who are facing execution by stoning in Iran. Sakineh Ashtiani is one of these women, who became well known after an international campaign to halt her execution received worldwide attention.

The human rights violations committed by the Regime have also reached Iranian/Canadians who choose to visit Iran. In 2003 Zahra Kazemi, a freelance photographer was arrested in front of the notorious Evin Prison while taking pictures of the families of political prisoners who had gathered in front of the prison. Ms. Kazemi was tortured and raped in prison, and died in custody as a result of injuries she had sustained during torture.

Most recently Saeed Malekpour an Iranian born Canadian resident was sentenced to death on charges of taking action against national security by designing and moderating adult content websites," as well as "agitation against the regime" and "insulting the sanctity of Islam." In an open letter to prison officials Mr. Malekpour stated that he had been tortured in order to make false confessions. This is not out of ordinary as prisoners in Iran are systematically tortured to make false confessions or/and to create an atmosphere of fear and terror to prevent further dissent against the government.

While the regime has been committing gross human rights violations against the Iranian people for the past 31 years, the international community was finally able to see the extent of these violations and the brutality of the regime in the aftermath of the June 2009 [s]elections.

The dissent against the regime is growing on the home front as is the concern of the international community over the nuclear issues. There is only one viable solution to the danger posed by the regime in Iran, the overthrow of the Islamic Regime by the Iranian people and the implementation of a secular and democratic government elected by the people.

Canada has already shown a leadership role when it comes to both the human rights and the nuclear issue in Iran, and can continue to be a great force in helping the Iranian people achieve their goal for a free, secular and democratic Iran. Canada has condemned human rights violations committed by the regime on an international level, as well as actively promoting and supporting smart sanctions against the regime including oil sanctions.

Canada needs to continue to symbolically support the pro-democracy movement in Iran by condemning all human right violations committed by the regime on the international level. It also should push and petition for smart sanctions, particularly oil sanctions which will have a crippling effect on the Regime.

Oil sanctions imposed by the international community will serve to cut off approximately 85% of the regime’s revenue; this along with the growing dissent at home can be a realistic and viable way for the removal of the threat of the Islamic Regime from the Middle East.

Iran is a great country, heir to a great civilization. It has so much to offer to Iranians themselves and to the world. Close to 70% of Iran’s population is under the age of 30, smart, educated, worldly, open and forward-looking - everything their Islamist leaders are not. Iranians deserve better than the ayatollahs repressing them now. As Canadians, it is our duty to help them in any way we can.

Down with Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran

Sayeh Hassan
Barrister & Solicitor


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