The Iranian Embassy is seen Friday Sept 7, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario.
Credits: Credits: Andrei Filippov /QMI AGENCY
TORONTO -- A Canadian human rights activist is applauding the government's recent decision to cut diplomatic ties with Iran.
On Friday, Canada said it would close its embassy in Tehran, citing a number of concerns including the country’s nuclear program, its hostility towards Israel and its alleged military assistance to Syria.
Maryam Nayeb Yazdi, a spokeswoman for the Free Saeed Malekpour Campaign and editor-in-chief of Persian2English.com, a blog which aims to expose Iran’s human rights violations, says "Canada's move is a good start to pave the way for an end to western appeasement policies with the Iranian regime.
"I am grateful for the vigilance that the Canadian government has shown," she told QMI Agency in an interview Sunday. "Over time, it has been proven that the Iranian regime is a threat to global security and has no regard for the civil or human rights of Iranian citizens or people living in other nations. This is a great first step by Canada, but we have a long way to go."
Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada, was arrested in October 2008 after one of his web programs was used to post pornographic images without his knowledge, Amnesty International, the human rights organization said on its site. The human rights group says that Malekpour is alleged to have been tortured while being held in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin Prison for more than a year. Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was tortured and died in 2003 in the same notorious prison.
Two other Canadians are on death row in Iran - blogger Hossen Derakhsan, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison for his writings, and Ghassemi-Shall, who has been charged with espionage. But Yazdi isn't convinced that Tehran will execute the trio to punish Canada.
"There are no particular concerns Canada's decision will put additional harms on Saeed, Hamid or Hossein Derakhshan," she says. "Take the Obama administration for example, they were able to free the three hikers without having an embassy in Iran or vice versa. The chances the regime will throw itself in more hot water when it has already been hit hard is very rare."
Yazdi says the Iranian regime continues to bully the rest of the world, adding that "everyone should stand strong against bullies, like the Canadian government has.
"At the same time though, western governments should be helping the Iranian people. It is important to keep in mind that any action toward the Iranian regime should first and foremost be based on the
Iranian people's right to decide on their own destiny through free and fair elections. This means that any actions that western powers take in regards to Iran should first and foremost consider what's best for the Iranian people."
Yazdi hopes Canada's stance will inspire other nations to "recognize the rights of the Iranian people.
"We hope the Canadian authorities continue to focus on human rights issues and increase its attempts to promote human rights and democracy in Iran," she said.