Hon. Linda Frum: Minister Dion, Iran is widely considered the world's pre-eminent sponsor of state terrorism through its support of terror groups that are listed entities in Canada, including the IRGC Quds Force, Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Iranian regime, therefore, was correctly listed by Canada as a state sponsor of terrorism.
This listing has enabled terror victims to sue Iran in Canadian courts and hold the regime accountable.
Minister Dion, will the government commit to keeping Iran designated as a state sponsor of terror for as long as the regime in Tehran continues to sponsor terrorism?
Hon. Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs: Thank you very much for the question, senator. Indeed, Canada will continue that. Canada will continue, also, to sponsor the resolution in the United Nations about the necessity for Iran to address the issue of human rights in a much more acceptable way. This is a resolution that we are sponsoring under the Liberals. The Conservatives will continue under the Liberals. We will address that. We will address the threat that Iran represents for its neighbours, including Israel, and the threat that Iran represents for Canadian national interests.
In order to address it, you need to be there. Fortunately Canada was there at the end of the 1970s. We had an embassy, and we have been able to help our American friends. There was a movie about it that was quite fair about the role Canada played at that time.
Today we are not in Iran. In which way is that helping human rights? In which way is that helping the people of Iraq? In which way is it helping Israel or any interest we may have? That's a big mistake the former government made. We need to be there.
By the way, explain to me what the logic is in not being there, but to count on the Italians, who are there, when we need to address Iran. We're saying we are noble and moral, we are out of Iran, but when we need to be in Iran we use the help and facilities of one of our allies. That's hypocritical.
I suggest that Canada be strong on all the issues you mentioned in engaging Iran in a frank and very strong way. Engagement is better than isolation.