Wednesday , 24 July 2024

Tehran Accuses Canada of Violating Iranians’ Right to Cast Absentee Votes

iranintl – Iran says Canada is violating the human rights of Iranian expatriates by not allowing them to cast absentee votes in the upcoming presidential elections slated for June 28.

Kazem Gharibabadi, the Secretary of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, said Sunday that it is a “violation of human rights” to leave many Iranians without possibility to cast their ballots in Canada.

“After Canada severed diplomatic relations with Iran, we no longer have any political representation in Canada, and a vast number of Iranians there are deprived of consular services. How are Iranians supposed to participate in the presidential elections there? Is Canada’s action against human rights or not?” he said.

While Canada has not provided absentee voting for Iranian expatriates, the Biden administration has permitted Iran’s government to establish absentee ballot stations across the US for the upcoming presidential votes.

The decision has sparked outrage among critics who view it as legitimizing the Islamic Republic’s “authoritarian rule”.

The Presidential Election Headquarters of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United States and Canada, which is run by Iran’s Interests Section in Washington DC, recently said in a statement that “consultations are underway regarding the establishment of polling stations and the feasibility of absentee and postal voting” to facilitate voting “for fellow Iranian compatriots residing in the United States and Canada.”

Since 2012, Canada and Iran have not maintained formal diplomatic relations. In the absence of direct diplomatic presence, Italy serves as the protecting power for Canada in Iran, while Switzerland fulfills this role for Iran in Canada.

Canada cut off diplomatic relations with Iran and shut down its embassy in Tehran due to several concerns including Iran’s support for the Assad regime amid the Syrian civil war, failure to adhere to UN resolutions on its nuclear activities, ongoing threats against Israel, and concerns for the safety of Canadian diplomats, especially after attacks on the British embassy in Iran.

Furthermore, Canada designated the Iranian government as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade discouraged all travel to Iran by Canadian citizens.

Further straining bilateral relationships with Tehran, Canada on Wednesday designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. The move, supported by the families of the victims of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752—which was shot down by the IRGC in January 2020—marks a significant escalation in Canada’s stance against Iran.

In response, Gharibabadi called the move by Canada “hostile” and defended the IRGC as a key element of Iran’s national security apparatus responsible for countering terrorism in the region.

The official designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization aligns Canada with other nations taking a firm stance against Iran’s aggressive activities.