The Trudeau government is getting ready to lift sanctions on Iran, pave the way for Canadian companies to do business and re-establish diplomatic ties.
While the Liberals say it is the right thing to do the opposition Conservatives say it will only help a country that is known as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“The approach of the former government was ideological and irrational,” Dion said. “When you have a disagreement with a regime you don’t pull out, you work harder.”
Opposition critic Tony Clement said the Conservatives oppose these moves due to Iran’s track record.
“The facts are that Iran is a state sponsor of terror,” Clement said outside the House of Commons. “It continues as state policy to deny the very existence of the state of Israel.”
Clement called Iran a “bad actor” in the family of nations.
Canada cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012 citing spying and harassment of Iranian-Canadians as among the reasons. At the time, then Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the Iranian regime’s support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and their ongoing push to acquire nuclear weapons also played a role in the government’s decision.
While Dion dismissed all of those reasons as “ideological” the move was supported by at least some Liberals at the time. Irwin Cotler, a long time Liberal MP, former justice minister and human rights advocate praised the decision of the Conservatives to cut ties and impose sanctions.
Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Cotler pointed to Iran’s call for genocide against Iran and an all-party report of the Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs that found Iran guilty of inciting genocide.
“The Canadian government’s decision to close its embassy in Iran and expel Iranian diplomats from Canada is as important for the reasons underlying the decision as for the decision itself. In a word, Iran has emerged as a clear and present danger to international peace and security,” Cotler wrote.
Now Liberals are cheering on the idea of Canadian companies working with Iran again. Asked if the lifting of sanctions would allow Bombardier to sell planes to Tehran, Dion’s answer was a clear yes.
“If Airbus is able to do it, why Bombardier would not be able to do it,” Dion said.
While Dion said lifting sanctions will help Canadian business, Clement worried about the lifting of sanctions funding more terrorism.
“Based on past experience with Iran when they have increased funds they in fact do funnel some of those funds to groups like Hezbollah and Hamas,” Clement said.
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