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Anti Iran protest in Toronto. Photo: CIJnews

Urgent Plea from an Iranian dissident re: Bill S- 219

The Honorable Senators:

Since the Senate Committee represented by the members this e-mail is presently addressed to will be reviewing possible sanctions on the terrorist Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian Canadian Congress, a lobby NGO based in Toronto, Ontario has been vigorously advocating for the Islamic Republic of Iran where they represent a very small number of Iranians in Toronto and do not speak for the majority of Iranians living in Canada, I would like to request that you please read my email and allow me to have the opportunity to discuss with you and provide insight to rectify this matter.

My name is Shabnam Assadollahi and I am a concerned Canadian citizen of Iranian background having experienced torture and cruelty as a teenager at the hands of Islamic extremists. I am lucky to be alive, am thankful to live in Canada and am extremely concerned about the safety of our country.

Iran’s leaders have made it abundantly clear they are anti-Democracy and have posed threats to the U.S. and Israel. Why would Canada allow diplomatic relations with a country with a covert terrorist agenda?

As a teenager born and living in Iran, I did not even consider that my life would be forever changed by the world’s influences on my country. Imagine for a moment a mother in Iran living a quiet uneventful life with her children. Imagine the horror of that same woman when in the early hours of the morning she comes face to face with the notorious Revolutionary Guards, forcing their way into her home to arrest her 16 year old daughter. I am that daughter.

There are no words to describe what life in prison was like for a teenager who had never been apart from her parents, and I can tell you that there is only one experience worse than being tortured in this way; having to listen to others scream and beg, not for their lives, but for their death.

I was wrongfully imprisoned in Iran at age 16, sentenced for 18 months for exercising my free speech and for questioning Islam; the religion that I was unwillingly born into. In reality, the 18 month sentence was imputed upon me because of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitutional law.

To this day, I have no idea how my life was spared out of Evin prison.

I am a miracle before you today. You see, as hopeless, difficult, and deathly depressing as it was, after 18 months I was freed from my chains not having been raped and still possessing my life.

Then and today, many in Iran are still facing these horrors, imprisoned for speaking out, or attempting to live, in a manner against Iranian Islamic tyranny and ideology. They are systematically raped and murdered by those who are full of darkness and lost in a dogmatic and barbaric way of life.

Still now, even abroad, political dissidents such as myself are threatened all over the world by this Regime who, thanks to former US President’s controversial ” Iran NUKE DEAL”, is gaining greater strength and plotting world jihad and our demise. I cannot emphasize enough that I speak to you about The State Leading Sponsor of Middle Eastern and Global Terrorism, A reality seemingly denied by the former US administration.

Last year, I translated an article written about what one of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Leaders had threatened to do to political dissidents who had escaped to other countries and to other enemies around the world. He said, and I quote, “( I could not find the article with your link. So, place here what exactly you remember he said.)”

Is Canada planning to have diplomatic ties w/ Iran so their diplomats could assassin Iranian dissidents?

This matter is of great urgency for me, my fellow dissidents, and for all citizens living in North America! The bullied today can easily become you tomorrow. You don’t want to know the immorality of their intimidation.

No amount of politicking can fool or intimidate me. I have stared down a regime of death and human rights violations, I’ve been imprisoned, and have emerged with insights to warn the West, particularly those who undeservedly hold positions of trust and power, but care mostly about the latter.

We are all at risk! In the name of religious freedom the Islamic world, including Iran, has wheedled and entrenched itself into many walks of life in the West, including the political sphere. To clarify I am not speaking against all Muslims, but Radical Islamic Jihadists who hide behind a free and open society, yet are really wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Canada should expand sanctions on the IRGC and the Supreme Leader’s financial empire, and strongly enforce those sanctions. Canada should develop a comprehensive order of sanctions against those Iranian officials who have violated the human rights of the Iranian people over the last 4 decades. Since Iran’s ballistic missile program is a threat in the region and to the whole earth, we desire Canada and USA to form an international coalition to pressure and force the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease its pursuit of long-range ballistic missiles.

North American Coalition must confront the IRGC’s malicious behavior in the region, on all fronts, and by every means possible and available. Many of the people of Iran no longer support the Regime and we desire Canada to support the pro democracy Iranians whose goal is to replace the Khomeinist regime of Tehran with a secular and democratic government. The time is now for Canada and The United States to stand by the Iranian people instead of holding secret discussions with corrupt Islamic fundamentalists.

The problem right now on the issue of sanctions and economic engagement is that Canada is engaging with an incredibly corrupt regime — a regime that controls the wealth of Iran.

In the wake of Canadian politicians reaching out to the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is a worrisome meeting organized by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iran-Canada Business Council in Montreal on March 28. Mehdi Karbassian, Iran’s deputy minister and a member of IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps), is invited as the Canadian group’s “honorary” guest to speak at their Iran Focused Forum in Montreal. The goal of the meeting is to promote Canadian investment in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a totalitarian dictatorship that systematically oppresses their people and commits massive human rights violations, and terrorist activities across the Middle East and region.

In their Facebook group, they posted the following: “To Iranians in Montreal who would like to attend an Iran Focused Forum on business and trade opportunities… In partnership with the KPMG.” Export Quebec is also participating in the event, which explores challenges that Canadian companies may face while doing business in Iran and seeks to help them to overcome those challenges so that doing business with Iran will be easier for them.

For me as an Iranian Canadian dissident, this is not an innocent meeting on business opportunities but rather is part of a larger trend of Iranian infiltration into Canada that seeks to empower the Islamic Republic in North America at the expense of members of the Iranian diaspora who outspokenly oppose the regime. They seek to empower the Iran lobby by presenting the Islamic Republic merely as another country to do business with and to silence us for being opposed to giving funds to a totalitarian dictatorship.

According to a report in Canada Israel Jewish News, this development comes after Canadian Liberal MP Majid Jowhari met with Iranian parliamentarians in order to discuss advancing Iranian-Canadian relations. Canadian MP Majid Jowhari met with Iranian MP’s Alim Yarmohammadi, Yonathan Betkolia, Mehrdad Lahooti and Ali Bahraini. According to the report, the Iranian delegation was in Canada to meet with officials at the International Civil Aviation Organization, which is headquartered in Montreal.

Photos on Lahooti’s Instagram account show they also visited the International Air Transport Association and CAE Inc., a Montreal company that specializes in aviation, defense and security training and flight simulation products, which is all trade that helps to empower Iranian aggression across the Middle East. The meeting came after Montreal’s mayor and former Liberal MP Denis Coderre visited Iran in order to meet with Tehran’s mayor. Tehran’s Mayor Bagher Galibaf is an infamous IRCG member and he made some secret deals with Coderre.

In recent times, Karbaschian has been traveling across the world promoting the economic interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He succeeded to get Russia, India and Italy to invest in the Iranian mining industry, which is another type of investment that helps to encourage Iranian aggression in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. Now, he possibly wants Canada to follow in their footsteps. These investments help to empower the regime by ensuring that they have the funds to stay in power and implement their terrorist agenda domestically, in the Middle East and across the world. For this reason, I outspokenly oppose this development and stand against this meeting in Montreal.

The tragedy of indulging the current Iranian government with a Canadian relationship has nothing to do with Canada’s stance on the death penalty for criminals. No, it’s far more dire! This issue at hand is the massacre of Iran’s innocent citizens–by the very government with which the Liberal Government of Canada plans to open a dialog–for nothing more than ideological non-compliance.

Imagine a country where its citizens are ruled not by freedoms and the equality of secular laws, but by twisted interpretations of a patriarchal theocracy. What is the benefit to Canada in trying to understand a political regime that views tolerance as weakness, and kindness as surrender?

Iran has not demonstrated respect for the UN. Curiously, they seem to look at the international community like a tormentor would look at naive children, placating their worries with their patronizing platitudes, understanding that there will be no repercussions or accountability attached to their future behavior. And, understandably so, Iran doesn’t fear Canada’s anger or shunning. They (rightfully) know that Canadians place a higher regard on “niceness” than on “justice” or “integrity”. Who can blame their high-handed approach and their eagerness to “own” us, given their Situation Analysis on our current government mindsets?

As a political figure entrusted to protect the interests of Canada, please ask these questions during the Iran related initiative on Bill S-129.

1. Would the Islamic Republic of Iran permit Christians to build Churches in Iran, stop imprisoning of converts from Islam, allow Sunnis to build mosques in Tehran, and leave the Baha’is alone to peacefully bury their dead, to worship according to their faith, to continue their education in universities ,and to freely have their businesses running; all without political or social repercussions?

2. Would the Islamic Republic of Iran allow women to choose to wear the hijab (or not) instead of wearing a state forced hijab, without political or social repercussions and allow women to watch games live at the Stadiums?

These are merely litmus-test questions to determine whether Iran is acting in good faith. A negative answer to either question lets you know their true colors and feelings towards even the most basic of human rights, and that they are merely toying with “gullible” Canada.

The Honorable Senators,

There has not been an Iranian embassy in the US for nearly four decades and yet Americans have been able to negotiate or even free their hostages. Let’s ask why the Iran regime lobby in Canada is so eager to sweet-talk “easy mark” Canada to reopen diplomatic relations? This should raise red flags!

The words of Khamenei and Rouhani taint the US deal, and what does that tell you? Will Canadians or the Americans be allowed to go in and inspect their nuclear facilities? Or, will inspection permission be granted conveniently at Iran’s own choosing (if so, they may as well inspect themselves). There is a 24 day notice required which can be extended even longer. Unacceptable! Like a puppy mill, much horror can be hidden with such an irresponsible lax timeline, and no accommodation for surprise inspections.

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, dubbed the deal “evident victory”. This was no accident of speech; it’s the Islamic traditional phrase referring to Muhammad’s raids on the caravans of the pagan Arabs of Mecca. The deal, said Rouhani, was “the greatest diplomatic victory in Islamic history.” Not just Iranian history, but Islamic history.” Why would Canada want to be publicly seen as condoning that? Canada is a country, not a religion.

It’s certainly disturbing for we peaceful Canadians to learn that Khamenei’s followers pray for “Death to “arrogant” America and Death to Israel!” That is extremely offensive to North Americans and to our vibrant and diverse Jewish communities. How unsettling that the Canadian government wants to ignore this kind of racial intolerance to the Jewish religion and to the Christian religion! They don’t support freedom of religion. Why would Canada want to condone that?

When Khamenei jubilantly crowed about the nuclear agreement, he stated unapologetically that the U.S. and its allies had been “forced to accept and stand the spinning of thousands of centrifuges and continuation of research and development in Iran, and it has no meaning but the Iranian nation’s might.” This should terrify you, not entice you to want to reopen the conversation for a relationship!

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s position is offensive and oppressive to women and girls, to ethnic minorities, to Jews, to North American free society, and to our biggest allies and protectors, the US. Please rethink this foray into a dangerous and intolerant relationship.


Shabnam Assadollahi

Award winning human rights advocate; freelance writer; former child prisoner of conscience of Iranian origin

A few references, FYI:

“Iran’s Spymaster Claims Pro-Regime Agents Operating in D.C., London, Canada”by Adam Kredo

“Islamic Republic of Iran’s latest terrorist plots” By Heshmat Alavi

“Military Leader: Iran Sending Elite Fighters Into U.S., Europe!

IRGC commander: ‘IRGC will be in the U.S. and Europe very soon'” By Adam Kredo

“Keep Iran at arm’s length” By Shabnam Assadollahi and David B Harris”

Rapprochement with Iran – through exchanges of ambassadors or otherwise – will bring no advantage other than to the fortunes of the mullahs’ malevolent, emboldened rule. Tehran’s fanatical, aggressively destabilizing regime, and its friends and influencers in Canada, already have enough of a presence in this country and beyond. Rather than weaken, we must limit the ayatollahs’ avenues into our nation, contain this global threat, and embrace sound international efforts to encourage constructive democratic change in Iran.

Some other informative links:

Why Canada Shut Down the Iranian Embassy

Iran Using Embassy as Recruiting Ground

Iran’s “Fifth Column” Targets Canadian Schoolchildren by David Harris

Shut Down Iran’s Embassy in Canada by Christine Williams August 9, 2012

Iran Infiltrates Canada, Calls to Attack America by Christine Williams July 11,2012

Please watch:

Stunning facts on assassination as a political tool of the Islamic Republic of Iran:


Plotter of foiled ‘hit’ was allowed to return to Iran:


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About Shabnam Assadollahi

Shabnam Assadollahi
Shabnam Assadollahi is a veteran human rights advocate who has worked extensively helping newcomers and refugees resettle in Canada and has distinguished herself as a broadcaster, writer and public speaker. While her primary and heartfelt interest focuses on the Iranian community and world events affecting women and minority communities in the land of her birth – she also advocates for the emancipation of women and minority religious communities worldwide. A resident of Ottawa she is active in community affairs including cultural, educational and humanitarian activities. Shabnam was born as a Muslim but converted to Christian in early 20s.

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