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Speech: 29th Anniversary of the 1988 Iranian Massacre

The following remarks were delivered at an event in Richmond Hill, Ontario to commemorate the 1988 Iranian Massacre

Good Afternoon,

It is my honour to be with you here today to stand in solidarity with you, and with Iranian political prisoners and prisoners of conscience as we recognize and remember the 29th anniversary of the 1988 mass murder of Iranian political prisoners.

Friends, today’s important commemoration not only brings meaning to the lives of the innocent victims lost in the political purge of 1988, but it also serves to remind us that the situation in Iran today remains intolerable.

Executions for crimes such as drug offences, same sex relations and blasphemy continue at an unrelenting pace.  Journalists and online media activists are jailed and tortured for attempting to exercise their right to freedom of speech.  Women’s rights and minority rights are non-existent. 

And Iran’s nuclear program continues unabated, posing a serious threat to the international community.

I applaud each and every person in this room for the work you do every day to bring attention to Iran’s crimes against humanity.

In my role as a Senator, I have proudly championed Iran Accountability Week on Parliament Hill along with colleagues Irwin Cotler and Tony Clement, an event which shines a spotlight on Iran’s malign activities  domestically and abroad, particularly as it applies to the unlawful detention and torture of political prisoners.

Under Prime Minister Harper, I was proud to serve in a government that cut off official diplomatic relations with the rogue regime in Teheran.  The Conservative Party of Canada strongly believes that no resumption of official relations should occur without a guarantee that human rights will be respected and upheld. 

In closing, I want to recognize the incredible efforts of Justice 88.  Your work to make Canada the first country in the world to formally recognize the atrocities of 1988 was very significant and it is my hope that the rest of the civilized world will follow your lead. 

As it is said: “When you turn a blind eye to atrocities, you are complicit in them."

Here, together, today, we do not look away.  We remember.  We condemn. We mourn. And we commit ourselves to doing what we can to help bring about a better future for the good people of Iran.

Thank you.

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