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Op-Ed: Iranian regime infiltrates Montreal: "This is part of a larger trend"

Iranian human rights activist Shabnam Assadollahi discusses how the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iran-Canada Business Council in Montreal are hosting a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp today: “For me as an Iranian Canadian dissident, this is not an innocent meeting on business opportunities but rather is part of a larger trend of Iranian infiltration into Canada that seeks to empower the Islamic Republic in North America at the expense of members of the Iranian diaspora who outspokenly oppose the regime.”
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

In the wake of Canadian politicians reaching out to the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is a worrisome meeting organized by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iran-Canada Business Council in Montreal today. Mehdi Karbassian, Iran's deputy minister and a member of IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps), is invited as the Canadian group's "honorary" guest to speak at their Iran Focused Forum in Montreal. The goal of the meeting is to promote Canadian investment in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a totalitarian dictatorship that systematically oppresses their people and commits massive human rights violations, and terrorist activities across the Middle East region.

In their Facebook group, they posted the following: "To Iranians in Montreal who would like to attend an Iran Focused Forum on business and trade opportunities... In partnership with the KPMG." Export Quebec is also participating in the event, which explores challenges that Canadian companies may face while doing business in Iran and seeks to help them to overcome those challenges so that doing business with Iran will be easier for them. 

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For me as an Iranian Canadian dissident, this is not an innocent meeting on business opportunities but rather is part of a larger trend of Iranian infiltration into Canada that seeks to empower the Islamic Republic in North America at the expense of members of the Iranian diaspora who outspokenly oppose the regime. They seek to empower the Iran lobby by presenting the Islamic Republic merely as another country to do business with and to silence us for being opposed to giving funds to a totalitarian dictatorship.

According to a report in Canada Israel Jewish News, this development comes after Canadian Liberal MP Majid Jowhari met with Iranian parliamentarians in order to discuss advancing Iranian-Canadian relations. Canadian MP Majid Jowhari met with Iranian MP’s  Alim Yarmohammadi, Yonathan Betkolia, Mehrdad Lahooti and Ali Bahraini. According to the report, the Iranian delegation was in Canada to meet with officials at the International Civil Aviation Organization, which is headquartered in Montreal. 

Photos on Lahooti’s Instagram account show they also visited the International Air Transport Association and CAE Inc., a Montreal company that specializes in aviation, defense and security training and flight simulation products, which is all trade that helps to empower Iranian aggression across the Middle East. The meeting came after Montreal’s mayor and former Liberal MP Denis Coderre visited Iran in order to meet with Tehran’s mayor. Tehran’s Mayor Bagher Galibaf is an infamous IRCG member and he made some secret deals with Coderre.

In recent times, Karbaschian has been traveling across the world promoting the economic interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He succeeded to get Russia, India and Italy to invest in the Iranian mining industry, which is another type of investment that helps to encourage Iranian aggression in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. Now, he possibly wants Canada to follow in their footsteps. These investments help to empower the regime by ensuring that they have the funds to stay in power and to implement their terrorist agenda domestically, in the Middle East and across the world. For this reason, I outspokenly oppose this development and stand against this meeting in Montreal.



JOL Blogger | Shabnam Assadollahi
Shabnam Assadollahi is a multi-award-winning Canadian human rights activist and freelance writer/journalist of Iranian origin. She has a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology and has worked extensively helping newcomers and refugees resettle in Canada and has distinguished herself as a broadcaster, writer and public speaker. 
 
Shabnam was arrested and imprisoned at age 16 for eighteen months in Iran's most notorious prison, Evin. Shabnam’s primary and heartfelt interest is to focus on the Iranian community and world events affecting women and minority communities.

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