Dan­ger­ous, bar­baric Iran court­ing naive Trudeau

Kingston Whig-Standard - - OPINION - CANDICE MAL­COLM This col­umn is based on a pa­per Mal­colm wrote for the Cen­ter for a Se­cure Free So­ci­ety, a DC-based think tank.

Cana­dian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials were in Tehran last week, vis­it­ing the despotic tyrants that rule the world’s largest state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism.

This is a dras­tic re­ver­sal in Canada’s pol­icy to­ward Iran.

In late 2011, the Ira­nian regime was tee­ter­ing to­ward col­lapse un­der the weight of global sanc­tions and in­ter­nal mis­man­age­ment.

This in­sta­bil­ity be­gan to cause se­cu­rity con­cerns for Western diplo­mats on the ground.

The Bri­tish em­bassy was raided by Ira­nian mer­ce­nar­ies, lead­ing to the re­moval of most Bri­tish and Cana­dian diplo­matic per­son­nel.

In the fol­low­ing months, then­prime min­is­ter Stephen Harper acted firmly against the rogue regime.

Canada im­posed harsh sanc­tions against Ira­nian banks and busi­nesses, and even­tu­ally ex­pelled Ira­nian of­fi­cials, closed Iran’s em­bassy in Ottawa and cut all diplo­matic ties.

Canada con­sid­ered Iran the largest threat to global peace and se­cu­rity.

Rightly so, given Iran’s ma­ni­a­cal nu­clear am­bi­tions, its con­stant threats to­ward Is­rael and its open in­volve­ment in fund­ing Is­lamist ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions.

At a time when the U.S., un­der the lead­er­ship of Barack Obama, the UN and the EU were all cozy­ing up to Iran to ne­go­ti­ate the nu­clear deal, Canada carved its own path and showed real lead­er­ship.

Obama’s scheme to ex­tend an olive branch to the mul­lahs in Iran came with great sac­ri­fices, in­clud­ing the hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis and civil war in Syria.

Obama agreed to turn a blind eye to the atroc­i­ties of Syr­ian dic­ta­tor Bashar al-As­sad, Iran’s clos­est Arab ally, to gain favour with his Ira­nian coun­ter­parts. He hoped the nu­clear deal would lead to a more stable and mod­er­ate Iran. In­stead, the op­po­site has hap­pened. Em­bold­ened by the deal, and the bil­lions in cash that came along with it, Iran’s bel­liger­ence has wors­ened.

On the world stage, Iran con­tin­ues to fund ter­ror­ism and prop up the Syr­ian dic­ta­tor.

In bla­tant breach of the nu­clear agree­ment, Iran has tested and ad­vanced its bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram. (Pre­dictably, Iran in­sists this did not vi­o­late the agree­ment.)

At home, Iran’s hu­man rights record has de­te­ri­o­rated. Re­li­gious per­se­cu­tion has in­ten­si­fied and ex­e­cu­tions have sky-rock­eted.

The regime rou­tinely kills gay men and puts chil­dren on death row.

The Trudeau gov­ern­ment is aware of the Ira­nian regime’s bar­baric prac­tices, but naively in­sists that Canada can change Iran’s be­hav­iour.

“We be­lieve (in) open and frank di­a­logue, es­pe­cially when we dis­agree,” said Alex Lawrence, a Trudeau gov­ern­ment spokesper­son.

De­spite such spin, our re­cent his­tory with Iran shows “open and frank di­a­logue” doesn’t work.

In 2003, Cana­dian pho­to­jour­nal­ist Zahra Kazemi was given per­mis­sion to cover a stu­dent protest in Iran, even is­sued an Ira­nian press card.

Re­gard­less, Kazemi was ar­rested and ac­cused of be­ing a spy.

Canada and Iran had diplo­matic ties back then, but it didn’t help.

Kazemi was de­tained at Iran’s no­to­ri­ous Evin prison. There, she was raped, tor­tured and mur­dered by Ira­nian of­fi­cials.

To this day, there has been no jus­tice for this bru­tal mur­der of a Cana­dian.

In­stead, Canada is once again be­ing courted by a coun­try led by Is­lamist fun­da­men­tal­ists who op­press their own peo­ple, desta­bi­lize neigh­bour­ing coun­tries and threaten to de­stroy Is­rael — the world’s only Jewish state and Canada’s great­est ally in the re­gion.

Trudeau is ig­nor­ing Iran’s ac­tions and sim­ply hop­ing for the best. He’s lead­ing Canada down Obama’s failed path of one-sided diplo­macy with the world’s most dan­ger­ous regime.

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