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A friendly soccer match is scheduled between Canada and Iran at the BC Place Stadium (Vancouver) on June 5th ,2022 as part of the preparation games for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. Thousands of Canadians and members of the Iranian Canadian community have enthusiastically purchased their tickets in anticipation of this rare and historic match, already sold out. This speaks volume to the fact that vast majority of Canadian and Iranian people favor friendly relationships symbolically captured by these types of events. The word “friendly match” itself symbolizes our people's desire for peace and friendship abroad and at home. Friendly international sports competitions have always had the aim of bringing people together. This match symbolizes the wish of the Iranian and Canadian people to come together around the values of sportsmanship, friendship, peace, and solidarity. In this regard, the Iranian Canadian Congress appreciates and supports the decision and the efforts of the Canada Soccer organization in hosting this friendly match. As stated by Sandra Gage, Chief Marketing officer of Canada Soccer: "We believe in the power of sport and its ability to bring people from different backgrounds and political beliefs together for a common purpose.” Sports, arts, and cultural events are the channels of interaction and dialogue among civilizations. We strongly believe that conflating politics with sports by politicians and interest groups contradicts the ideals espoused by Canada, including peaceful coexistence, and promotion of democracy and friendship. While such attempts may produce superficial and short-term political gains, eventually the preservation of these intercultural events serves the purpose of conflict reduction, advancement of democracy, and mutual understanding. Iranian Canadian Congress welcomes the upcoming friendly match and invites the Iranian and Canadian national teams to observe one-minute silence to initiate the match in respect and memory of Iranian-Canadian victims of flight 752.read moreMoslem Noori, the president of the Iranian-Canadian Congress (ICC), says the organization has for years tried to get the government to “resolve this issue,” including through a 2016 petition that garnered more than 16,000 signatures requesting reestablishing of diplomatic relations with Iran. Another campaign in 2021 also saw Iranian-Canadians email their MPs “asking for easier access to consular services for Iranian Canadians.” “With this,” Noori told NCM, “hundreds of Iranian-Canadians sent their concerns to MPs.” Yet, nothing has been done about the issue, even as — or perhaps because — Canada has criticized the Iranian government over human rights violations and has initiated United Nations resolutions against the same. Meanwhile, the Canadian government continues to ignore the basic rights of hundreds of thousands of Iranians across the diaspora in Canada and creating more difficulties for those in Iran who are forced to travel to neighboring countries for the simplest of consular and visa-related procedures every year. Report regarding difficulties of Iranians to deal with the Iranian Interests Section in Washington, D.C., that can leave many in impossible situations by Hamid Moghimi: New Canadian Media ICJournalread more
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