Trudeau vows to punish ‘bloodthirsty regime’ in Iran amid Mahsa Amini death

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to further punish Iran’s “bloodthirsty regime” on Tuesday, one day after Ottawa imposed sanctions over the death of Mahsa Amini.

Trudeau told reporters in Nova Scotia that Ottawa would hold Iran to account, not only for Amini’s death, which has sparked global outcry, but for the families of victims on flight PS752 that was shot down in January 2020.

“Over the past 1,000 days, we have been with them in condemning Iran’s callous and horrific shoot down of a civilian airliner,” Trudeau said. “And as we’re seeing now, it’s continued repression of its own people, it’s violation of human rights and the murder of not just women like Mahsa Amini … but also students, young people, Iranian women who are courageously protesting against this brutal and bloodthirsty regime that is increasingly illegitimate in the eyes of (people) all around the world, not just of Canadians.”

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman, died last month while in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police for reportedly wearing her hijab too loosely.

Her death has sparked global criticism of Iran, as well as anti-government protests that continue to unfold in the nation.

Iran has cracked down on the unrest. Security forces have rounded up an untold number of demonstrators, as well as artists who have voiced support for the protests. Local officials report at least 1,500 arrests. About 130 people have died during the protests, human rights groups report.

On Monday, Ottawa sanctioned nine entities and 25 individuals, including senior Iranian officials and members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Those being sanctioned include Mohammed-Hossein Bagheri, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, IRGC Commander-in-Chief Major General Hossein Salami, and Esmail Qaani, commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC.

As far as entities are concerned, Iran’s morality police and Ministry of Intelligence and Security are being sanctioned by Canada.

Under the measures, Ottawa is effectively freezing any assets the listed individuals may hold in Canada and rendering them “inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act,” the government statement said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly on Monday said Canada would be announcing more sanctions soon, saying the goal is to apply “maximum pressure on the Iranian regime.”

Iran Protest

In this Sept. 19 photo taken by an individual not employed by The Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, a police motorcycle is burning during a protest over the death of a young woman who had been detained for violating the country's conservative dress code, in downtown Tehran, Iran.

AP Photo

Iran continues to refuse to accept “any responsibility” for the downing for PS752, Trudeau said Tuesday. The flight was shot down minutes after taking off from Tehran on Jan. 8, 2020 by Iranian surface-to-air missiles. Fifty-five Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed.

The tragedy had unfolded against a backdrop of escalating violence in the region.

Days earlier, a U.S. drone strike had killed Iran’s top military commander in Iraq. Iran then retaliated by launching missile attacks on bases in Iraq where American and Canadian troops were stationed.

Iran initially denied responsibility for the downing of PS752, but admitted three days later that its Revolutionary Guard mistakenly hit the Ukrainian civilian jetliner with two surface-to-air missiles.

Iran has blamed human error, but Canada and its allies have dismissed the explanation and demanded a full accounting from the country — demands that have been ignored in Tehran.

“The Iranian community, and indeed people around the world, continue to watch with horror at what this regime is doing to its own citizens, to students, to women standing up for their rights,” Trudeau said Tuesday.

“Like many of you, I was horrified to see some of the videos over the weekend that are coming out of Iran, but also deeply touched by the courage of people standing up against a brutal regime for a better future. I can tell you that all Canadians, this government and all political parties stand with the people of Iran as we stand up for women’s rights and human rights in Iran and around the world.”

— with files from Global News’ Saba Aziz, The Canadian Press, Associated Press and Reuters

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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