We the undersigned welcome the government of Canada’s commitment to lift its unilateral sanctions against Iran and request Mr. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, to announce plans for restoring diplomatic relations with that country as promised by the Liberal Party during the Federal elections in 2015. The sudden and unprecedented action of the Conservative government in 2012 to sever all diplomatic ties with Iran has left tens of thousands of Iranian-Canadians without representation by their
country of origin in matters concerning their native nationality. Furthermore, the Canadian government’s closure of its embassy in Tehran left many Iranian Canadian families without access to the consular services which allowed their relatives to acquire visas to visit them here in Canada. The shutting down of the Canadian embassy in Tehran also disrupted the immigration process for thousands of Iranian applicants whose access to Canadian immigration officers is now limited to neighbouring countries (mainly Turkey and UAE).
Similarly, for almost 4 years the Iranian-Canadian community has been unable to take advantage of Iranian consular services in Ottawa. This has resulted in unnecessary obstacles with respect to obtaining new passports and other identification documents required for travelling and delegation purposes. We also believe that a continuation of a state of diplomatic suspension with Iran at a time when the country’s recent agreement with the world’s powers has been embraced by the international community can weaken Canada’s position at the world stage. It is also our belief that restoring diplomatic relations with Iran can help resolve outstanding issues between the two sides by fostering the ability of both countries to negotiate on behalf of their citizens. Though the minister of Foreign Affairs has recently stated that Canada is changing its policy towards Iran during question period in parliament, the Conservatives with the help of pro-sanction groups are pressing the government to maintain the status quo and even impose new sanctions, thereby hindering efforts to break the current diplomatic freeze.
Given the welcome statements made by foreign minister Dion, we ask the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada, in solidarity with our allies in the international community, to elevate the priority given to the issue of resuming diplomatic relations with Iran and to accelerate the process for exchanging embassies with the country.