Iran ‘hell on earth for women’ dissident tells MPs as Ottawa waffles listing Revolutionary Guard terrorists
A U.S. carrier group steamed toward the Persian Gulf this week in a show of force against Iran, as exiles of the Islamic republic joined parliamentarians in Ottawa to demand that Canada take more punitive measures against the rogue regime.
Led by former attorney general Irwin Cotler, the coalition of dissidents and MPs called upon the federal government to apply Magnitsky Act sanctions to 19 high-ranking officials in Iran. On top of freezing assets and holdings of these “architects of the oppression,” Cotler’s group also wants Canada to officially list the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorists.
“For 40 years the government of Iran wrote their ideology on the backs of the women,” exiled journalist Masih Alinejad told MPs during a committee briefing on her country’s egregious human rights record.
“When this government does not allow you to control what you put on your head, they’re never going to allow you to control what goes on inside your head,” she said of mandatory hijabs, central to the Ayatollahs’ domination. “It’s a system that makes life hell for women and girls from the age of seven.”
Exiled Iranian judge Shirin Ebadi, chair of the UK’s Centre for Supporters of Human Rights, detailed the power structure inside Iran’s theocracy.
“All the power rests with the supreme leader of the Islamic state…who is selected for life by a number of high-ranking clergy, like they select the Pope at the Vatican,” explained Ebadi, a Nobel laureate. “Under the regime there is censorship and no freedom of expression…people joke, ‘I have freedom in Iran, the freedom to go to Heaven.'”
The story of Iran’s blight on the geopolitical landscape begins during the Islamic revolution in 1979, which culminated with the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran where 52 diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days.
Viewed by Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries as a victory against American imperialism, overrunning the American embassy is ignition point. Whilst Iran’s fledgling theocracy descended into religious tyranny under sharia, Islamic religious law, the United States transitioned from President Ronald Reagan to Donald J. Trump.
Meanwhile, current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei carries on Ayatollah Khomeini’s tradition of training and sponsoring trans-national terror organizations. Apart from backing the crumbling Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s more recent chapter of abuses involved its own people in a crackdown on widespread protests over economic hardships and women’s rights.
As protests intensified in February of 2018, the regime responded by arresting 29 women for removing their hijabs in public. Amidst this political unrest was the death of dual Canadian/Iranian citizen Dr. Kavous Seyed-Emami while in custody of Iranian authorities.
Seyed-Emami, the founder of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation and University of Lethbridge lecturer, had been accused of spying for America and Israel. To this day his widow Maryam Mombeini, also a Canadian citizen, remains under house arrest in Iran.
These events spurred an Opposition Conservative motion last June to list the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terror group. While the Liberal government voted in favour, nearly a year later it has yet to follow through.
“As Minister (Chrystia) Freeland has said, including directly to Iran, until Maryam Mombeini is allowed to return home, her freedom will be the only topic of discussion we have with the Iranian government,” Freeland’s press secretary Adam Austen told The Post Millennial.
“We oppose Iran’s support for terrorist organizations, its threats toward Israel, its ballistic missile program, and its support for the murderous Assad regime.”
As for listing Iran’s entire armed forces as a terror group, the Foreign Affairs minister and Public Safety minister Ralph Goodale remain coy. In an email to TPM, Goodale’s spokesperson Scott Bardsley repeated what the minister has already told the House of Commons.
“The assessments for new terrorist entity listings are an on-going process,” wrote Bardsley. “New entities are added once it has been determined that they meet the legal threshold.”
Neither minister offered any comment about imposing Magnitsky Act sanctions against high-level Iranian officials, or whether the government was considering such a move.
Official diplomatic ties between Canada and Iran have been severed since 2012, when then Prime Minister Stephen Harper listed the regime as a state sponsor of terror, closed the Canadian embassy in Tehran, and tossed their diplomats from Ottawa.
Ferry de Kerckhove, twice-director general at Foreign Affairs and former Canadian diplomat with extensive experience in the Muslim world, said in the absence of official diplomatic ties there Canada can do little to force Iran’s hand on Mombeini and other Canadians held by the regime.
“The leverage we have is extremely minimal and the atmosphere that has been brought about by Trump’s renunciation of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) makes the atmosphere even more difficult,” de Kerckhove said in an interview.
“The only countries that still have relations with Iran are the Europeans, but again there is very little leverage that the Europeans would be prepared to extend to help Canadians given that they themselves have serious issues of human rights with Iran, including their own citizens being in jail and similar situations so it’s very difficult to proffer anything positive.”
A year ago, the U.S. withdrew its support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons—what U.S. President Donald Trump called “the worst deal ever”.
The U.S. continued its pressure on Iran in April by sanctioning its crude oil customers, for which the regime threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf and friendlier ports of Kuwait, Bahrain, and Dubai. The sanctions followed Trump’s designation of the IRGC as a terror group.
“Whatever you think we could be doing on Iran, we would gain very little by doing what Trump is doing because we have no means to counter what Iran could do to us, whereas the U.S. has the power and means to oppose Iran,” warned de Kerckhove of Canada following the U.S. president’s lead on IRGC.
“Branding the revolutionary guard as a terrorist organization is dangerous even for American troops in the region because then everything is fair play on the Iranian side,” de Kerckhove continued. “But it’s also the revolutionary guard who controls such a huge swath of the Iranian economy and that’s what Trump is aiming at.”
Canada already designates IRGC’s clandestine al-Quds wing as a terror group for funding and training the Taliban, Lebanese Hezbollah, and Hamas (who are also listed), and other tentacles of Iran’s terror exports; Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Kurdistan Workers Party.
Adding to our government’s diplomatic woes with Iran, and by extension the United States, is Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s recent speech to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations.
In Montreal last week, Scheer offered shades of his party’s foreign policy that includes moving the Canadian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, as Trump did with the U.S. embassy in December of 2017.
“So what can we give to Trump that Scheer has not just promised with the Jerusalem embassy? In this sense (the government) is in a weak position,” said de Kerckhove. “On Iran, Trudeau is actually in the same camp as Trump but we are very discreet – we still think that the JCPOA was the right treaty, but right now we’re pretty coy and we don’t talk much about it.”
While Iran vowed to stick to the nuclear deal along with Europe, China and Russia, despite the U.S. withdrawal, recent developments now endanger the treaty as Tehran has threatened to resume stockpiling enriched uranium prohibited by the JCPOA.
In addition to dispatching the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier group to the gulf, Trump ordered four strategic B-52 bombers deployed to the U.S. airbase in Qatar. The administration claims this enhanced military presence in the region is to protect American interests and allies against possible attacks ordered by Tehran.
As prospects of a military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran increase, the chances for Mombeini’s release in the near-term diminish. Cotler’s coalition of activists and MPs have also lobbied on behalf of Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada who has been in an Iranian prison for 10 years after being arrested for designing pornographic websites.
Other human rights abuses perpetrated by Iran against Canadians include Homa Hoodfar, a Concordia University professor imprisoned in Tehran for four months in 2016 for the crime of dabbling in feminism.
In 2003, Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was tortured and killed after she was arrested for taking photographs outside of Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.
Gender critical feminist Meghan Murphy is being held responsible for the effects of the threats against her. CUPE Local 391, representing workers at the Vancouver Public Library, wants the library to shut down Murphy’s upcoming March 21 talk. They are concerned about the impact that the threats against Murphy and the controversy surrounding gender critical ideas has had on library workers.
Trans activists have previously asked for Murphy’s series of #GIDYVR talks to be denied public meeting space, and they protest her everywhere she speaks. They have threatened Murphy, the VPL, and library staff. The library has not folded to these demands. But for some reason the union wants to punish the women that have been threatened, instead of those who advocate for violence against women.
It would be normal to blame the trans activists who have made the threats—but in lieu of that, they are blaming the women who have been threatened. Murphy wants to meet peacefully to discuss gender identity, as she has done countless times before. She neither courts nor advocates for violence. The union’s reasoning is that the protests put an undue burden on library employees.
In a public statement, a response to VPL’s upcoming room rental to Murphy for a March 21 talk, CUPE Local 391 states:
“The stress put on workers before, during, and after this event, has the potential for long-term damage that cannot be ignored or dismissed. Members have expressed, to the union and to management, symptoms of anxiety, fear, anger, and depression in both their professional and personal lives. These experiences raise health and safety concerns from the union for those members directly affected as well as those working alongside their struggling colleagues. The impact is also felt by the many members who have had to navigate highly emotional conversations with colleagues and the public due to the very public discussion surrounding this issue. Library patrons and community members have directly targeted our members on social media while engaging in the debate about the decision to allow the room rental. Members in the unit responsible for library communications and social media have likewise been exposed to threatening and violent language.”
In short, because #GIDYVR events draw protests, the union wants to cave to the threats of activists and deny women their right to gather peacefully. Instead of condemning those who would deny Murphy her right to rent public space, the union condemns Murphy. The woman who is persistently threatened with violence is now being blamed for those very threats.
Murphy is no stranger to attempted deplatforming. She has held events at the Vancouver Public Library before, and has been protested for it. The library was disinvited from marching in Vancouver’s Pride Parade because they have allowed her group to rent space. When Murphy speaks on panels, or at gender critical events, she is flanked by bodyguards due to persistent threats of violence against her. Murphy did not ask for this fight but she has taken it up because the alternative is the erasure of women. If our greatest institutions cannot stand up for our rights to speak freely, all hope of justice and discourse is lost. The union would rather allow the silencing of women than address the violent threats of the trans advocates.
Murphy responded on Instagram: “—the library staff union—has released an appalling statement, framing out #GIDYVR events as, essentially, a health and safety risk to workers. While indeed trans activists have threatened violence, it is not the event itself, which is a discussion of women’s rights, that is the risk. The union is pressuring the Vancouver Public Library to cancel our next event, Gidyvr Women’s spaces & Places, on account of ‘stress’ caused to union members on account of the harassment, verbal abuse, and threats they receive from trans activists. WOMEN are being blamed for threats, abuse and harassment from others, many of whom are male. We are being held accountable for the harassment, violence, and threats WE receive from abusive authoritarians. A fucking LABOUR UNION is attempting to silence feminist speech and public debate about a subject that impacts all of us because a group of fascists don’w tant women to speak in their own defense. It is incredibly inappropriate, to start, for the union to speak on behalf of their members in this way, considering there are, as the VPL and CUPE are aware, numerous people on staff and in the union who support out events and right to speak. Moreover, it is unacceptable to attempt to punish and silence us for exercising our right to free expression and for standing up for women’s rights. PUSH BACK.”
The Post Millennial reached out to Murphy to find out why she thought the union would make such an appalling statement in opposition to women’s rights to freely gather. “There are a lot of people with positions of power in unions across Canada who have taken a hard stand in favour of gender identity ideology/legislation and have refused to listen to dissenters from within or without the union,” Murphy said. “The BC Federation of Labour blacklisted Vancouver Rape Relief in 2016, for example, and numerous union execs have publicly vilified and libelled me. Unions in Canada are all very connected to the NDP, as well and of course, as the NDP is essentially Canada’s Labour Party. And the NDP and fully adopted a position in favour of gender identity legislation that cannot be challenged. They have lost members and votes because of this, but continue not to listen to those of us who have long supported the party but who also have concerns about gender identity ideology and the impact on women.”
The pressure from trans activists can be fierce and uncompromising. The CUPE may think that their virtue signaling on this will lead to a diminishing of trans activist anger, but, as Murphy points out, this “will not free them from the bullying of trans activists, who apparently will accept nothing less than full capitulation.” Murphy has reason to believe that “there are people on staff/in the union who support or events and have even attended our events. So they published this statement despite knowing all union members are not on board with what they are saying.”
A labour union, an organization that has the sole purpose of upholding rights, seeks to deny the rights of others. In the face of injustice, and advocacy for the denial of women’s rights to speak, the union is caving to threats. While it is couched in concern for their members, the effect is the same as letting mob rule decide who gets access to public space and who does not. It’s shameful that the union wrote this statement, that it was approved and released. It’s unacceptable to cow to threats of violence simply because it’s the less difficult option, and it’s doubly unacceptable to blame women for those threats levelled against them.
A labour union should know this.
Ryan Newman, the famous NASCAR driver, has been released from a Daytona Beach hospital following a horrific crash on Monday during the last lap of the Daytona 500.
Newman, 42, flipped his car, which slid on its roof before it was then hit on the driver’s side by another car, before finally sliding across the finish line upside down.
Newman was rushed to Halifax Health for treatment in Daytona Beach according to WESH 2 News.
Roush Fenway Racing confirmed Newman’s status in a statement released early Wednesday morning, stating that Newman is showing “great improvement.”
“Ryan Newman has been treated and released from Halifax Medical Center,” a tweet from Roush Fenway Racing said.
Jeff Gordon, a four-time NASCAR champion and Fox NASCAR announcer commented, “Safety has come a long way in this sport, but sometimes we are reminded that it is a very dangerous sport.”
The crash occurred as Newman attempted to block rival driver Blaney from getting ahead of him. Blaney’s push forced Newman out of control, resulting in the most violent wreck in Daytona since Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001.
President Trump took to Twitter to express his concern. Trump was present the previous day, attending the race as the grand marshal. He gave the command for drivers to start their engines and made a ceremonial pace lap around Daytona International Speedway before the rain cancelled the race.
Anti-pipeline protestors outside of Spruce Grove, Alberta, were confronted by locals fed-up with the law-breakers blocking the railway on Wednesday, as first reported by CTV News.
A business owner from Spruce Grove, upset with the protestors affecting her business, asked
“Quick question though, how is this affecting your business? How does this affect your business if you’re in Spruce Grove?” asked the one activist blocking the train route to the business owner.
“Are you kidding? Do you know what industrial area you are in? Do you know how many trains for through Spruce Grove in a day? Do you know that?” asked the business owner.
The one protestor shook his head no.
“You don’t, and you don’t care. And that’s the sad part. How there be any reconciliation or reasonable conversation when you are doing something illegal? Plain and simple,” said the business owner from Spruce Grove.
“The government is breaking its own laws,” said a woman protestor.
The business owner asked if illegal activity was a good way to go about reconciliation.
“Are you telling them how to get reconciliation? Another white person, coming down and telling Native people how to view their business. That’s sad.” said another anti-pipeline protestor.
“Your being racist, you’re both being racist,” said the female protestor.
“Eight of 13 hereditary chiefs. Twenty bands want that pipeline. You’re making it about something that it isn’t. And you’re standing in their way,” said the business owner.
“You’re making it a very unsafe space here, you need to go over there,” said another woman blocking the track to an out of work Albertan asking the protestors to clear the track.
“Trains are supposed to go through here… We have the rights to fu**in’ jobs, to pipelines, to all kinds of things,” said the clearly angry counter protestor in CTV’s footage of the scene.
“Trudeau isn’t doing nothing. The RCMP aren’t doing nothing. What are you, Batman? Why don’t you go home,” said another protestor to the unemployed Albertan.
The unemployed man said he was laid off because of the protest, in which one of the law-breakers asked if he had ever heard of a temp agency.
Canadians across the country are confronting the protestors shutting down Canada’s railways and roadways.
A poll commissioned by Global News found that 61 percent of Canadians see the protestors putting up illegal blockades as illegitimate in their actions.
The blockade near Spruce Grove was torn down by counter-protestors later in the day.
Conservative Member of Parliament for Sarnia-Lambton Marilyn Gladu has been officially approved to run for the Conservative Party leadership race.
Gladu has been open about her bid, having announced her bid to become the leader of the Conservative Party on Jan. 9. She was at the time the only female candidate in the leadership contest, though she will be joined by Leslyn Lewis.
“In order to win, we need to be able to expand the base,” Gladu told National Post on Thursday. “When I looked at it, I said to myself, this is something I can do. I am a strong, dynamic leader. I’ve got 32 years of global business experience, and I’ve been successful here in Parliament. I think I can bring the right balance of fiscal responsibility and social compassion.”
Gladu was first elected to the House of Commons in 2015, and serves as the Conservative’s health critic. Gladu has a background as a chemical engineer.
Gladu also says she is bilingual, having done business in Quebec.
This is a breaking news article and will be updated.