Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Iran-Efforts to Establish Trade Relations

Hon. Yoine Goldstein: 

"Honourable senators, Iran has been referred to as a member of the ‘axis of evil.’ That country is ruled by a dictatorial president who is maniacally psychotic and seeks the destruction of Israel.

Canada has not had a honeymoon in recent years with Iran. Honourable senators will recall, I am sure, the fact that a Canadian-Iranian newspaper person was murdered in Iran, probably by the government, and our repeated requests for an investigation of this murder have gone absolutely without results.

The international community and the United Nations have imposed repeated sanctions – economic and otherwise – on Iran in the vain hope of stopping its relentless race toward the acquisition of atomic weaponry.

Even Russia – a nation that has supported Iran in many respects regarding its nuclear program – decided to impose economic sanctions as it faced the fact that two weeks ago, Iran tested a nuclear-capable rocket that could be catastrophic to the bulk of Russian territory.

Notwithstanding all of that, Canada has the following people in Iran: Dr. Maher Abou-Guendia, Commercial Counsellor and the Senior Trade Commissioner; Ms. Azar Zanganeh, a trade commissioner dealing with agricultural technology and equipment; agriculture and food and beverages; and other matters; and Mr. Sadegh Hedayat, a trade commissioner dealing with automotive; building products; electric power equipment and services; forest industries; and communication technologies. There are others, as well.

At the moment, we have a full contingent in Iran trying to encourage trade between Iran and Canada when the rest of the world is trying to discourage trade with Iran.

My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate: What is Canada doing in Iran?"

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)):

"I thank the honourable senator for his question.

The honourable senator cites some troubling incidents in Iran. I will take the question as notice and refer it to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I will provide the honourable senator with an answer as quickly as possible."