The Current

Iranian-Canadians reflect on the impact of lifting economic sanctions in Iran

After years of isolation, Iran has flung open it doors, at least to foreign investment. How will this affect Iranian-Canadians who have family and friends still in Iran, who have felt the brunt of economic sanctions in the past?
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi talk to each other during their meeting in Rome, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. Rouhani arrived Monday in Rome on the first state visit to Europe by an Iranian president in almost two decades, eager for foreign investments after the lifting of international sanctions. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

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After years of isolation, Iran has flung open it doors — at least to foreign investment.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani was given red carpet treatment on his tour of European capitals where he signed some major trade deals, worth up to as much as $87 billion.

This all comes in the wake of Iran's agreement last year to curb its nuclear ambitions, which led to sanctions being lifted in countries around the world.

In Ottawa, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion announced that Canada will follow its allies and begin dismantling some of the 200 economic sanctions currently in place against Iran.

To get a sense of how businesses in Canada stand to benefit from the opening of trade relations with Iran, guest host Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with Tina Tehranchian, founding chair of the Iranian Canadian Network and a senior financial planner at Assante Capital Management.

Meanwhile, the lifting of some of Canada's sanctions on Iran is being met with mixed reaction by Iranian-Canadians. Some argue it will vastly improve the quality of life for Iranians and Iranian-Canadians, but others worry about the implications of normalizing relations with a country that has a dubious human rights record.

A panel of Iranian-Canadians join The Current to debate what this means for them, their friends and their families:

  • Soudeh Ghasemi, a community activist.
  • Joobin Bekhrad, editor of ReOrient magazine, a magazine covering contemporary Middle Eastern arts and culture.
  • Ardeshir Zarezadeh, executive director of the International Centre for Human Rights in Canada. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion says Canada will begin to lift some sanctions on Iran now that a deal has been reached to curb that country's contentious nuclear program. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Sujata Berry.