CBC News: Ottawa’s decision to designate Iran’s biggest opposition group as a terrorist organization renders Canada’s outrage at the killing of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi meaningless, opposition members of Parliament claim. CBC News
OTTAWA – Ottawa’s decision to designate Iran’s biggest opposition group as a terrorist organization renders Canada’s outrage at the killing of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi meaningless, opposition members of Parliament claim.
But the Foreign Affairs department has denied that there’s any link between the Kazemi case and the terror listing.
Supporters of the People’s Mojahedin, and some Conservative MPs, say the move appears to be intended to reassure Tehran of Canada’s friendship, even as the government publicly condemns the Iranian regime over the death of Kazemi.
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran has waged a 20-year armed campaign to overthrow the ayatollahs.
Conservative Foreign Affairs critic Stockwell Day said the group, also known as MEK, has confined its attacks to military and regime targets and that Public Security Minister Anne McLellan has twisted the meaning of the word “terrorism.”
“She’s using harsher language against the MEK than the government has used against the rape, torture and murder of Zahra Kazemi. It’s bizarre and it looks like appeasement of a repressive regime.”
Day says the timing of the announcement, just 48 hours after Iran told Canada to stop interfering in their investigation of the Kazemi case, will be interpreted by Tehran as a capitulation.
He questioned why a group that has existed for 40 years should only become terrorist now nearly two years after it announced it was laying down its arms.
“The timing and the intelligence around this is strange to say the least.”
Conservative MP Paul Forseth says that if the government wants to criminalize support of the People’s Mojahedin, it will have to start by arresting several members of Parliament, including Liberals.
“In essence, they’re calling their own members of parliament terrorists, because (Liberal MP) Hedy Fry recently sponsored one of their meetings on Parliament Hill, just as I did the year before,” Forseth said.
A spokesman for Foreign Affairs said the People’s Mojahedin had met the threshold for designation, but did not say why the ban is happening now. But he did say it is not related to the Kazemi case.