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Daniel Lahey

The NDP’s Position on Iran is Both Wrong and Perplexing

The Harper government’s announcement last Friday that it is severing diplomatic ties with Tehran has drawn criticism from Canada’s official opposition party. In an interview with the CBC the following day, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar questioned the decision, characterizing it as “bizarre” and saying there isn’t a “strong argument” for downgrading relations with one of the world’s most odious regimes. As with many of its positions on international affairs, the NDP’s take on the Iran decision is both regrettable and wrongheaded. But more than that, it’s downright perplexing coming from a party that purports to stand up for social justice and human rights. Contrary to Dewar’s assertion, the argument for restricting Canada’s diplomatic relationship with Iran could not be stronger. Beyond the obviously despicable nature of the regime itself, where women, minorities and political activists are routinely suppressed and murdered, Tehran’s domestic and international conduct has become particularly reprehensible as of late. Let’s begin with Syria. Over the last several months, with the world watching in horror as Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad continues to wage a wholesale slaughter of his own citizens, Tehran has significantly increased its support for this horrendous campaign. While Canada and other responsible members of the international community have sought ways to cut Syria off from weapons imports needed to snuff out rebel forces, Iran has been shipping hundreds of tons of military equipment to Damascus. Furthermore, Western media reports this past week indicate that Tehran has taken things one step further by dispatching 150 senior Revolutionary Guard commanders to Syria in order to assist the regime’s efforts. In other words, the Iranian military is now directly taking part in the crimes against humanity occurring within its ally's borders. The recent increase in Iran’s military support for Syria is playing a critical role in… Read More