Canada Looks to Iran for Proof of Strategic Shift

August 4, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement, on the occasion of the inauguration in Tehran of President Hassan Rohani:

“The Iranian regime has a clear choice to make: it can either march Iran down its current path toward continued isolation and economic disparity for the Iranian people, or it can let President Rohani change the regime’s nuclear policies, its wanton disregard for human rights, and its destructive meddling in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the wider region.

“The regime’s record has not improved since the elections in June:

  • according to Human Rights Watch, executions in Iran have continued at an alarming rate—more than 71 people have been executed since Iranians went to the polls;
  • the regime continues to prop up the murderous Assad regime in Syria, having recently extended $3.6 billion in credit; and
  • political prisoners continue to languish in Iranian prisons, at the hands of the Basij militia.

“The worst outcome for the people of Iran would be for the world to cease its calls for respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Iran. Canada will be watching for concrete actions and meaningful change and calls for the Iranian regime to:

  • hold genuine talks with the P5+1 [the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany];
  • fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and stop the reckless expansion of Iran’s nuclear program;
  • open space for Iranian civil society by rolling back the apparatus of tyranny and releasing all political prisoners; and
  • stop meddling in neighbouring countries, using and supporting terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, and collaborating with the Assad regime’s slaughter of the Syrian people.

“The people of Iran deserve to have a future in which they can live without fear. A future where they can enjoy the benefits of their hard work. A future where they can raise their families with the realistic hope that their children will have better a life. These are the hopes that Iranians have told us they have invested in Mr. Rohani. Canada and the rest of the world will be looking to the regime to make these hopes a reality.”

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