Iran’s Human Rights Abuses
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. UN reports have catalogued persistent failures to uphold due process rights, an alarming increase 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 Sponsorship of Terrorism
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 also been sent to terrorist groups in both Afghanistan and Iraq for use against Western forces. Iranian troops and military technology continue to be deployed to Syria to assist the Assad regime and its Hezbollah allies in conducting their brutal war, which has so far claimed more than 200,000 lives and displaced nearly seven million people from their homes.
Iran’s Nuclear Proliferation
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 civilian application, and reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, paint a grim picture of Iran on the cusp of having the means to build a nuclear bomb. 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 represent an unacceptably serious threat.
The Jewish community supports the economic and diplomatic measures employed by Canada, particularly under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA), and hopes Canada will continue to adapt to Iranian attempts at circumvention. We support the consensus position across federal political parties demanding Iran be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons and that sufficiently comprehensive inspection measures are required to verify Iranian compliance with any nuclear deal.
It is our hope that following an agreement, Canada will make the removal of its SEMA sanctions contingent on Iranian actions rather than rhetoric. At the same time, we trust that Canada will continue to put forceful pressure on the Islamic Republic to cease its appalling human rights abuses and support for terrorism. An agreement between the world powers and Iran on the nuclear file, no matter what its form, must not eclipse the vital imperative to confront and roll back its other abuses.