Shabnam Assadollahi
Shabnam Assadollahi

Open Letter to the Senate Canada: “Canada should pass Bill S-219 and hold Iran accountable over human rights abuses!”

The truth about the Islamic republic of Iran needs to reach the ears and hearts of the world, for knowledge is the vessel of constructive change. Edmund Burke said “For evil to flourish, all that is needed is for good people to do nothing.”

The Honourable Senators:

As a Canadian of Iranian origin, I strongly support Bill S-219, Sanctions against the Islamic Republic in Iran.

Global terrorism is a real problem facing our world today and is an urgent threat that does not get as much limelight as climate among the International community. While climate change receives a lot of political attention, general support, and financial backing in governments around the world and through the United Nations, global terrorism tends to be swept under the rug by those governments, and is therefore mostly a topic circulated among grassroots individuals who are increasingly alarmed by its deadly encroachment. Weekly reports constantly show terrorist attacks in multiple cities and countries around the world, where countless lives are being sacrificed on its altar.

Recently, Senator Linda Frum spoke out strongly in support of Bill S-219, a bill coming up for vote in Parliament that would hold the regime of Iran accountable for its global terrorist activities and human rights violations, and received a flurry of criticism and demands for retraction and apology from an Iranian Toronto based NGO for making the statement that Iran is one of the most ‘malign’ nations on earth, to which she refused to capitulate.

The painful reality is that Islamic Republic of Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism globally. Not only is Islamic regime of Iran committing terrible atrocities and senseless human rights violations in its own country, imprisoning, raping, and executing its own citizens for questioning the theocratic regime’s actions in blogs, articles, protests, or simply by word of mouth but it is also funding a global terrorist campaign to take over the Middle Eastern, North African and South American regions, with its long range sights on dominating the entire world.

Already, the Islamic Republic of Iran has sent forth its terrorist agents into many countries, including Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, the United States and Canada, to name but a few, and has set up proxies who have entrenched themselves in the cultural, educational, and political realms of those nations. This is intentionally being done in order to undermine those countries by using various or subversive political and cultural means, including liberal democracy’s freedoms of religion, press, speech and assembly, for the intended purpose of waging a war of words on the sentiments of the people, thereby gradually entrenching themselves deeper and deeper, so as to eventually gain political and cultural domination.

Moreover, the Islamist organizations and proxies the Islamic Republic of Iran funds, commit outright acts of terror against other Muslims, Jews, and followers of other religions, and non believers. And, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and Quds Forces Generals have made clear threats to Iranian dissidents living in countries abroad, as well as to the existence of Israel and America.

How do I know this? I am a former child prisoner, having been imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison during the season of its revolution and rise to power. I bear the scarred memories of 18 months of humiliation in darkness, interrogation, and in threats of harm to my 16-17 year old body. Daily I witnessed the screams of tortured prisoners and heard the sounds of death.

I vowed to myself that if I ever became free, I would never cease waging my own campaign to uncover and undermine my Iranian oppressors. I have faithfully waged my campaign to this day, and am well aware of the operations of this regime, as I diligently monitor them on a daily basis.

If an embassy for Iran re-opens in Canada, beyond its basic practical services, it will definitely be used to continue the regime’s terrorist expansion into this country and the United States.

Please also note a copy of my previous letter to the Senate: “Canada Should Pass Bill S-219, Sanctions against the Islamic Republic in Iran!”

While the Iranian born Liberal MP, Majid Jowhari who sponsored a government supported petition asking Canada to re-open the Islamic Republic of Iran’s embassy and to have ties with the Islamic regime of Iran which is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism globally — Mr Jowhari together with a Toronto based Iranian NGO claim that Senator Frum insulted hundreds of thousands of Iranian Canadians by her statement. The reality is that many Iranians living in Canada and abroad are supporting Senator Frum’s stance for the very same reason that I do. These Iranians know all too well the corruption of the Islamic Republic of Iran holding their own country, the Iranian nation, hostage, and they feel very concerned for their family and friends in Iran along with those living in Canada and elsewhere.

This is why I support Bill S-219. Bill S-219 would require Canada to publish an annual report on Iranian sponsored terrorism along with human rights abuses. This report would be required to include statistical information on terrorist activities and human rights abuses coming out of Iran, as well as monitor any Canadian funds supporting activity in Iran. Additionally, Canada would require two years of annual reporting demonstrating that no terrorist activities or human rights abuses have been committed before lifting any sanctions on Islamic Republic of Iran.

Please note: On November 14, 2017, UN condemned Iran’s human rights violations for 30th time. A committee of the UN General Assembly condemned Iran for its continuing violations of human rights, the 30th such resolution since 1985. Voting result: 83 in favor, 30 against and 68 abstentions.

Considering the treacherous record of the Islamic regime in Iran, reopening an Iranian embassy and having broad economic relations with the Iranian Government isn’t common sense at this time. It poses too great a risk to human life and to our democracies, including our democracy here in Canada.


Shabnam Assadollahi,

Former Evin prisoner, human rights activist, freelance writer
Ottawa, Ontario

Please note: A copy of the above letter in PDF format with names of over 700 undersigned was emailed and paper-mailed to the Senate Canada on November 16, 2017.

About the Author
Shabnam Assadollahi is an award-winning Canadian human rights advocate and freelance writer/journalist of Iranian origin. She has a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology and has worked extensively helping newcomers and refugees resettle in Canada and has distinguished herself as a broadcaster, writer and public speaker. Shabnam was arrested and imprisoned at age 16 for eighteen months in Iran's most notorious prison, Evin. Shabnam’s primary and heartfelt interest is to focus on the Iranian community and world events affecting women and minority communities.
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