In recent days there have been protests in several cities in Iran. As an organization that is committed to the values enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms the Board of Directors of the Iranian Canadian Congress strongly supports the rights of Iranian people to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. We believe in the right of all Iranian people to peacefully demonstrate and communicate their views and demands with their government. We hope that the legitimate demands of the protesters are addressed and that the protests result in improved conditions for all concerned. Freedom to protest is a basic human right and must be protected and respected by all governments; however, violence or endangering the security and safety of others by any group, individual or entity should be condemned by all and we are extremely saddened about the loss of life and violent clashes happening in Iran. Time and again it has been demonstrated, whether in the Middle East region or otherwise, that violence does not lead to progress or improvements in the social and economic well-being of the people.
In the days since the protests began, some politicians and political groups in Canada and abroad who have for years advocated for sanctions and aggression against Iran have tried to exploit these protests to justify their anti-Iranian policies. We should make no mistake; the policies of sanctions and aggression have only hurt ordinary Iranians by negatively impacting the Iranian economy. These efforts constitute nothing but an attempt to cynically exploit people’s legitimate demands to advance these groups’ own political agenda. In addition to internal factors and economic mismanagement in Iran, decades of sanctions by Western governments, especially the United States, have significantly harmed the Iranian economy and the lives of ordinary Iranians. Time and again, the people of Iran have demonstrated to the world that they want to engage constructively with the international community and that they reject isolation, violence and war.
We believe that it is important to respect the rights of Iranians to determine the direction of their own country in the pursuit of their social and economic vision for the future and their democratic aspirations.
Board of Directors of the Iranian Canadian Congress