Iranian Embassy: Call to Close

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Nazanin Afshin-Jam, one of Canada's foremost Iranian-born activists, believes Tehran's embassy in Ottawa should be shut down because she says it monitors and intimidates Iranian-Canadians.


Today's guest host was Mike Finnerty.

Part One of The Current

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Iranian Embassy: Call to Close - Human Rights Activist

We started this segment with a clip of the Iranian Press TV, reporting on an event held at Carleton University in Ottawa last month. The event was organized by the Iranian Culture Association, a student group of Carleton University. And it was assisted by the Cultural Centre of the Islamic Republic of Iran, run out of Iran's embassy in Ottawa.

For some, the event was controversial and some Iranian-Canadians say they think the embassy was trying to influence the students. This week the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade issued a warning to the Iranian embassy. While the Foreign Affairs Minister says he is not available to speak with us this morning, his Press Secretary did gave us a statement. He wanted to make it clear the government is responding to the media allegations about the Iranian Embassy, and not to any concrete information about what it has or has not done.

Here's part of what the statement says:

It is well known that Iran is a serious threat to global peace and security. Iranian-Canadians have rejected the oppressive Iranian regime and have chosen to come to Canada to build better lives. The Iranian Embassy should not interfere in their choices. Canadian security organizations will act to prevent threats and intimidation of Canadians.

Nazanin Afshin-Jam thinks the government should go beyond warnings. She would like to see the embassy shut down. She's a human rights activist and the author of The Tale of Two Nazanins. A Teenager on Death Row in Iran and the Canadian Who Vowed to Save Her. She's also married to a senior member of Stephen Harper's cabinet, Defence Minister Peter MacKay. She joined us from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, this morning.

We wanted to talk with the Iranian Culture Association of Carleton University, the Cultural Centre of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Ottawa. But we were unable to get anyone to speak with us.

Iranian Embassy: Call to Close - Professor of Middle East & Islamic Politics

Nader Hashemi isn't convinced Iran's embassy to Canada should be singled out. He is a Canadian whose parents emigrated from Iran. He teaches Middle East and Islamic politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and he's the author of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future. Nader Hashemi was in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kristin Nelson and Gord Westmacott.


Other segment from today's show:

The Paralysing Night: Documentary Repeat

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