On August 21st, 2019, Foreign Minister Freeland responded to the ICC's Parliamentary petition e553. This petition was signed by over 15,000 Canadians and asked for Prime Minister Trudeau to fulfill his promise to Iranian Canadians and reestablish diplomatic relations with Iran.
The Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) is deeply disappointed with the Canadian government’s answer to the ICC’s petition and strongly believes that the current policy of the government does not protect the safety of Canadians abroad as the “top priority for Government of Canada” as indicated in the response letter.
Canadian officials have said that they are concerned about consular cases in Iran, including Iranian-Canadian Maryam Mombeini who is banned by Iranian authorities from leaving the country. However, many Iranian-Canadians and experts -- including Dr. Homa Hoodfar, who was imprisoned in Iran -- have repeatedly explained that having an embassy in Iran will help Canadian citizens who need consular support at times of emergency.
In July 2017, Foreign Affairs Minister Freeland herself pointed out to the importance of establishing relations with Iran in order to be able to advocate for consular cases of its citizens or permanent residents in Iran. She said: “It's important for us to have lines of communication for many reasons. One of them being, we have some difficult consular cases in Iran and to have any hope of solving them we need to be able to talk to the government of Iran... It's essential to have relations, diplomatic relationship, to have a conversation not only with countries who are your friends and who share your values but also with the countries with whom you disagree. So we are definitely on the path to re-engage with Iran...”
Despite the Liberal government’s policy shift on this important issue for our community, the ICC’s position remains the same as we still strongly believe that the best way to advance the interests of the 400,000 Iranian-Canadians and to protect Iranian-Canadians in Iran including Maryam Mombeini is to have diplomatic relations with Iran. Therefore, we continue to advocate for re-engagement with Iran and look forward to working with the new government to resolve this long-standing issue for our community.