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What's Canada's end goal in Iran?
There's no doubt Iranians want change, but we ought to regard Western motives with the utmost suspicion
Canada is imposing sanctions on Iranian government officials after a young Kurdish woman was likely beaten to death by the country’s so-called “morality police” for improperly wearing her hijab.
Mahsa Amini, 22, died in police custody on Sept. 16, where she was placed due to wearing “unsuitable attire” in a country where women are required by law to cover their heads. While government officials claim she died of a heart attack, her family has casted doubt on that assertion.
Since her death, protests have erupted in dozens of cities across Iran, with protestors cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, and in some cases confronting police. Predictably, these protests have been met with violent suppression, which has killed 76 people, according to the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights.
Trudeau announced Canadian sanctions Monday, but didn’t specify which entities or individuals would be targeted, only that they numbered in the “dozens.”
While the regime in Tehran is undeniably blood-soaked, including the blood of Canadians, we must be cautious against pushing Iranians who oppose the regime but, given the country’s modern history, rightfully fear Western imperialism back into its arms.
For whatever reason, the CBC’s Power & Politics decided to solicit the expertise of exiled former Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, whose loathed father Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s dictatorial rule led to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which brought the similarly-dictatorial mullahs to power.
Pahlavi said an end to the Islamic Republic “would put an end to everyone’s concerns, which is of mutual interest,” calling on Canada to impose Magnitsky Act sanctions on Iranian government officials, which would prohibit them from entering Canada and freeze their assets.
Be that as it may, it’s an odd look for the CBC to interview the heir to a U.S.-backed dictatorship which ruled the country as its own fiefdom, overthrowing a democratically-elected government in 1953 before establishing a secret police which tortured, killed and imprisoned thousands of Iranians with the backing of the CIA and Mossad.
If the goal is to give the mullahs an arrow in their quiver to point to how Western countries want nothing more than to bring back the old regime, then mission accomplished.
Macdonald-Laurier Institute propagandist Kaveh Shahrooz doesn’t mention the Shah once in his National Post op-ed on the situation in Iran. It’s as if the Islamist regime came out of nowhere and that all will be well once it’s replaced by something else.
In the piece, he explicitly calls for “regime change,” but says this isn’t the sort that was pursued in Iraq in 2003, arguing all Iran’s democracy movement needs is “international attention and solidarity.”
Never mind that the U.S. didn’t decide to invade Iraq overnight, but what happens if the attention and solidarity of people in the West isn’t enough to fully dislodge the regime from power? There’s a reason this is a possibility Shahrooz doesn’t even consider in his piece.
Another dubious ally, Conservative deputy leader Melissa Lantsman, spoke at a Sept. 24 protest against the Iranian government at Mel Lastman Square in North York — home to a large Iranian diaspora community — where she used the opportunity to implicitly dismiss people who talk about women’s rights and LGBTQ issues in Canada.
In an undeniably fiery speech, Lantsman, who is a lesbian, said:
You want to talk about real women’s rights? We’re talking about real women’s rights. You want to talk about the rights of the LGBTQ community? We’re talking about the rights of the LGBTQ community. Those rights don’t exist in the Islamic Republic. They don’t exist under the mullahs in power.
You wouldn’t know from her speech that there is indeed a concerted effort to curtail women’s and LGBTQ rights in North America — one which is coming from Lantsman’s ideological counterparts.
She also called on the federal Liberals to officially declare the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, which would label the millions of Iranians who were conscripted into it, many against their will, as terrorists. It’s unclear how that would help anyone.
While something must undoubtedly change in Iran, the question we must ask is, “What’s the end game?”
Is it simply to take out a regime that’s hostile toward U.S.-Israeli-Saudi interests in the region and bring back the old guard? Or is it an effort to support the will of the Iranians who are putting their lives on the line to demonstrate against their obscurantist government?
This story has been updated with the correct year of the overthrow of Iran’s democratically-elected government. Apologies for the error.
In other news …
Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro says the province will refuse to implement the federal government’s assault weapons ban, despite not having the power to do so.
The Canadian government’s offer to match private donations for Hurricane Fiona relief in the Atlantic provinces has come under criticism for privatizing disaster relief.
A federal judge has given the go-ahead for a $1.1-billion class action lawsuit against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police alleging failure to provide a workplace free from bullying, intimidation and harassment.
Just four provinces and territories — New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut — have declared Sept. 30 a statutory holiday for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
While much attention has been focused on Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive against Russian troops in the country’s northeast, they’ve been having a more difficult time repelling the Russian invasion in the south.
Edited by Scott Schmidt
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