Irwin Cotler, the Liberal Party’s Special Counsel on Human Rights and International Justice, introduced legislation today that will hold Iran to account for its genocidal incitement, domestic repression and nuclear armament.
Cotler said: “As a signatory to the 1948 Genocide Convention, Canada has a responsibility to prevent and punish incitement to genocide that it has largely ignored in the case of the world’s greatest threat. The Iran Accountability Act fulfills these responsibilities and affirms Canada as a world leader in fighting impunity.
“The Iran Accountability Act makes it clear that diplomacy targeted solely at Iran’s nuclear threat mistakenly ignores the terrifying and vilifying context in which that threat operates and, however inadvertently, sanitizes the genocidal incitement at its core.”
Specifically, the Iran Accountability Act:
* divests Canada from investment in Iran;
* establishes a mechanism to monitor incitement in Iran;
* renders the most virulent inciters inadmissible to Canada;
* freezes the assets of those that contribute to Iran’s nuclear or military infrastructure—as well as its machinery of hate;
* uses the framework of the international community – including Canada’s bilateral relationships and the United Nations – to bring Iran to justice through recognized principles of international law; and
* targets Iran’s dependence on imported petroleum.
The former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada explained that this bill will maintain its relevance regardless of the result of the upcoming Iranian presidential elections. He stated: “The danger of a genocidal, nuclear and rights-violating Iran did not begin with President Ahmadinejad—though he has come to personify this threat. The supreme leader of Iran himself, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has pronounced that ‘it is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region.’
“Canada cannot ignore this standing violation of international law. However, if Iran does curb its genocidal incitement – which we hope it does – then we are ready to react positively. In such a case, the sanctions advanced by this bill would automatically decrease in severity.”
Cotler also made it clear that this bill “targets the regime of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Iran, and not the great civilization of Iran – and the peoples of Iran – who are increasingly the object of the regime’s domestic repression.”