Thanks Canada! For boycotting his speech!
Canada to boycott Ahmadinejad's UN speech
By THE CANADIAN PRESS, cp.org,
Updated: September 23, 2009 12:32 PM
OTTAWA - Canada's seat at the United Nations will be empty during today's speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Canada will not attend Ahmadinejad's address to the UN General Assembly in New York, said a spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon. "Canada's seat at the UN will be vacant during the Iranian president's speech," Catherine Loubier said.
The Iranian president denies the Holocaust, harbours "hostile views towards our democratic ally Israel" and continues to violate the human rights of his own people, Loubier said.
"President Ahmadinejad's repeated denial of the Holocaust and his anti-Israel comments run counter to the values of the UN General Assembly and are shameful," she said by email.
"It is clear that President Ahmadinejad uses his public appearances to provoke the international community and Israel. Canada does not tolerate such unacceptable behaviour."
Iran's pro-reform opposition has staged dramatic protests since Ahmadinejad was re-elected in June, claiming the vote was fraudulent. The Iranian government waged a bloody crackdown and opposition groups say at least 72 protesters were killed.
Government officials maintain that only 36 people died, and Ahmadinejad repeated that claim in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. Hundreds more have been jailed.
Ahmadinejad told AP those who died were "not at fault." He blamed Iranian opposition politicians and "European and American politicians" who, he said, fuelled the violence.
Loubier said Canada will continue to demand the release of those "unjustly detained" in Iran, including Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian reporter working for Newsweek.
Bahari was imprisoned while covering the election unrest.
Ahmadinejad said in the AP interview that three Americans detained in Iran for 53 days illegally entered the country when they went off course while hiking in northern Iraq in July.
Nevertheless, he said he will ask the Iranian judiciary to treat the case with "maximum lenience."
Ahmadinejad also was asked about Bahari but he did not reply. The ambassador at Iran's UN mission, Mohammad Khazee, later said he hoped Bahari's case would also be resolved.
Canada and Iran have been involved in a diplomatic row since Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist from Montreal, died in Iranian custody in 2003 after she was tortured and beaten.
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