by Daniel Smajovits, JEWISH TRIBUNE
MONTREAL – Speaking to a capacity crowd at the Beth Zion Synagogue in Cote St. Luc last Sunday evening, Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler resoundingly called for immediate action by the Canadian government to combat the increasingly threatening Iranian regime.
“We wanted to engage the community,” said Cotler. “We needed to sound the alarm in what I call the critical mass of threat in Iran: the nuclear threat, the threat of state-sanctioned incitement to genocide, the terrorist threat and the threat of massive domestic assaults.”
While the gathering, which also included a screening of the documentary Iranium, undoubtedly opened the eyes of many in attendance, the evening also served a secondary purpose for Cotler. Attendees were invited to sign a petition that for every 25 signatures, Cotler would be able to table and speak to another Iranian issue on the floor of the House of Commons.
“The petition is part of a 10-point program that I set forth that I thought we needed to act upon. It provided a direct means of citizen engagement, which calls for increased, targetted and comprehensive sanctions, for Canada to undertake one or more of the remedies under the Genocide convention to hold Iran accountable for having already committed the crime of incitement to genocide, it called for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard force to be named as a terrorist group and so forth,” he added. “We want to call upon the government and parliament to take specific action.”
While Cotler has continuously led the charge for action against Iran, he believes that time is quickly running out as the rogue nation continues to increase its stranglehold in the Middle East and North Africa. Its most recent attempt to assert its dominance and provoke the international community occurred recetnly when the Iranian navy sent two warships through the Suez Canal – something the country has not done since 1979.
The passage of the warships, which subsequently docked in Syria, was called an act of provocation by Israel and resulted in the Israeli Navy being put on high alert. The two warships passed through the Suez Canal without any inspection by the Egyptian, American or Israeli Navy.
“Iran is upping the ante all the time. They are in continuous defiance of the international community,” said Cotler. “In my view, Iran has emerged as the leading threat to international peace and security, to regional and Middle East stability, to Israel and the Jewish people and increasingly and alarmingly so to its own citizens. Putting the warships through the Suez Canal is just one of many instances of threats, provocations and tragically actual actions themselves.
“I think Iran is such an international mischief maker whose tentacles reach across the globe,” he added. “Whether it was in Argentina, where Iranian leaders were held responsible for the greatest terrorist atrocity in Argentine history since the Second World War [the 1994 AMIA Jewish Community bombing] or in Venezuela, Afghanistan, Iraq and North Africa. You have a pervasive and mischievous involvement of Iran to promote unrest, generate terrorism and to destabilize the Middle East.”
While Iranian’s defiance of the international community is well known, its internal human rights violations are additional issues Cotler hopes to raise on the floor of the House of Commons.
“Iran was executing a person every eight hours. This execution binge was unprecedented, even by Iranian standards,” he said. “They have engaged in a massive state-sanctioned assault on the rights in every community in Iran, whether it be the religious minorities like the Baha’i, the ethnic minorities like the Kurds, women, trade unionists, students, academics, or lawyers. What is it that we need to do?”