A small group of Iranian-Canadians show their support for John Baird's decision to close the Iranian Embassy in Canada outside the Department of Foreign Affairs building in Ottawa Monday, September 10, 2012.
Credits: DARREN BROWN/QMI AGENCY
"We have been waiting for this day to see the Iran embassy shut down for 23 years," said Vahideh Khorram-Roudi, a real estate agent and executive director of the Iran Democratic Association who left Iran 23 years ago for fear of political persecution.
"It doesn't matter if you live in Iran or in Canada, this is great news and we thank the Canadian government for doing the right thing."
Since the government's decision Friday to cut diplomatic ties with Iran, and remove its personnel and expel 17 diplomats and their families from Canada, the Iranian Canadian community has reacted positively.
Some crowd members took turns at the microphone telling condensed versions of their stories of intimidation and worse. A man's brother was killed after he openly opposed the regime; family members back in Iran were intimidated, imprisoned without fair trials, even murdered.
Despite overwhelming support for the closure, some Iranian Canadians have acknowledged they are now without consular services that could prove inconvenient.
A 30-year-old student who identified himself only as Nick arrived at the Iranian embassy Friday for a scheduled appointment to renew his passport, only to find his appointment cancelled and his renewed passport still inside the building.
When asked about the plight of Iranian Canadians currently imprisoned or on death row in Iran, Hamid Gharajeh of the Iran Democracy Alliance said their circumstances were terrifying, but not something the Canadians were ever in a position to amend.
"Foreign Affairs really tried to come with a solution for their release," he said. "A diplomatic release is not in the nature of the Iranian government. Iran will hold them until the time is right that they can blackmail them. They just terrorize people."