Iran General NewsIran MPs call for review of ties with Canada

Iran MPs call for review of ties with Canada

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AFP: Senior deputies in Iran’s conservative-controlled parliament have called for a review of diplomatic and commercial ties with Canada amid a continuing dispute over the murder here of Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi, a report said Monday. A statement from the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said that in response to Ottawa’s decision to “constrain” relations with … AFP

TEHRAN – Senior deputies in Iran’s conservative-controlled parliament have called for a review of diplomatic and commercial ties with Canada amid a continuing dispute over the murder here of Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi, a report said Monday.

A statement from the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said that in response to Ottawa’s decision to “constrain” relations with Tehran, “it is essential that Iran’s foreign ministry reconsider the level of ties with Canada besides scaling down commercial and economic cooperation.

“Canada… is shedding crocodile tears for the death of Zahra Kazemi, which has been condemned by the Iranian government, with the judiciary firmly following up the case,” the student news agency ISNA quoted the statement as saying.

Kazemi, who was 54, died in custody in Tehran in July 2003 after being arrested for photographing a demonstration outside a Tehran prison. While in custody, she sustained serious head injuries.

Iranian authorities first said she died of a stroke, then admitted she had been beaten, but then suggested she may have simply fallen over. Kazemi family lawyers have accused the judiciary of a cover-up, a view shared by Canada.

In addition, Kazemi’s body was hastily buried at her birthplace in southern Iran, despite demands from her Canada-based son for her corpse to be returned home and a Canadian request to carry out its own post-mortem.

But the MPs brought up a parallel case — that of Keyvan Tabesh, an Iranian national shot dead by police in Vancouver around the same time that Kazemi died.

Canada has argued that Tabesh was shot at because he was charging at a police officer with a machete, while Kazemi was only armed with a camera.

But the MPs’ statement called on the foreign ministry to “seriously follow up the case relating to the murder of Tabesh, who was unjustly killed by Canadian police”.

Iran does not recognise dual nationality, and has told Canada it has no business looking into the Kazemi case.

On July 24, 2004, a Tehran court acquitted an intelligence agent accused of giving the photographer a fatal blow to the head, and family lawyers have set their sights on bringing to justice a judiciary official they say is the real killer.

The case is now at the appeals stage. Kazemi family lawyers, led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, are demanding a new investigation and trial.

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