Letter to House Subcommittee on International Human Rights

Here is a letter from ICC VP Pouyan Tabasinejad to members of the Canadian Parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights:

Honourable members of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, 


This month starting on May 13th, a series of events occurred that amounted to nothing less than the politicization of the House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights.

Firstly, even before this week, the committee showed a bias in their witness selection, heavily favoring pro-sanctions and pro-war advocates on a study which was made to analyze the human right situation in Iran, which is rapidly deteriorating due to unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States. The already precarious integrity of this study was further damaged when one of the few pro-peace voices -- Trita Parsi, a noted expert on Iran and pro-peace advocate -- had his invitation rescinded by the committee less than 24 hours before he was scheduled to testify after a coordinated action to bring pressure to bear on committee members. Furthermore, we were extremely concerned to learn that this rescinding was instigated at least in part by individuals associated with the MEK organization and its front in Canada, the “Iran Democratic Association,” as media outlets suggested that Shahram Golestaneh, a noted MEK affiliate, sent a letter to the chair of the committee asking for Dr. Trita Parsi to be removed.

Secondly, we are extremely disappointed to see that committee members are allowing the committee to act as a platform to attack Canadian civil society organizations with transparent falsehoods. At the committee and at the instigation of MP Michael Levitt, Shaparak Shajarizadeh stated yesterday that the "Iranian Canadian Council" had attacked her on social media. Based on her social media posts after the testimony, Ms. Shajarizadeh meant the "Iranian Canadian Congress". This assertion is absolutely false; at no time has the ICC ever written anything about Ms. Shajarizadeh (in relation to her committee testimony or at any other time). Whether Ms. Shajarizadeh has been misled, misquoted, or knowingly engaging in such falsehood, we believe that this is the direct result of the politicization of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights.

Testimony at the committee should not be a political issue; all legitimate points of view should be heard and allowed to speak. We note that at no point has the ICC attempted to remove witnesses who presented before the committee, even when they are as divisive and illegitimate as the FDD's Mark Dubowitz, noted advocate of war and sanctions against Iran, who has repeatedly been invited to present before the committee, nor Maryam Rajavi the head of the MEK cult, an organization that was listed as a terrorist group in Canada till 2012. We ask that all sides of the issues at hand act with similar restraint and respect for a diversity of opinions and views in order to prevent the further politicization and erosion of legitimacy of the committee's work. Specifically, we look to the committee members and the chair, Anita Vandenbeld, for leadership on this issue.



Pouyan Tabasinejad

Vice President

Iranian Canadian Congress

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