Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to present a petition signed by prominent leaders in the Iranian Canadian community. A similar petition has been signed by thousands of human rights advocates, particularly from the Iranian community in Canada.
The petitioners are bringing the case of Mr. Khavari to Parliament’s attention. Mr. Khavari, a dual Iranian–Canadian citizen and former chairman of Iran’s largest bank, is wanted for questioning in Tehran. During the time he reportedly obtained his Canadian citizenship, Mr. Khavari led a financial institution belonging to the Iranian revolutionary guards, a known international sponsor of terrorism and the source of much of the violence against civilians during Iran’s post-election protests.
The petitioners are requesting that the government investigate the conditions of Mr. Khavari’s citizenship to see whether he obtained it by meeting all the legal requirements. This is a growing problem that the Iranian Canadian community is raising with the government. Just today, we read that a second Iranian banker has settled in Montreal. These individuals are associated with the Iranian regime, even if they find themselves on the wrong side of the regime today.
Many Iranian Canadians contacting my office argue that Canada should not be a safe haven for these individuals. It is a slap in the face of so many of the people who have moved to Canada to avoid the torture and violence of this regime.
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions. The first petition is with respect to a matter that has already been brought before us about a particularly compelling matter.
The first petition is from a group of Iranian Canadians who wish to bring to the attention of the House the concerns they have with regard to Mahmoud-Reza Khavari, a former managing director and chairman of the board of the largest state-owned Iranian financial institution, the Melli Bank. He was also director on the board of another principle state-owned entity, the Sepah Bank.
Of particular concern is Mr. Khavari’s alleged settling here in Canada. These two banks, with which Mr. Khavari has been intimately associated, are state-owned entities that have been blacklisted by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations for having assisted Iran, both with respect to its nuclear weaponization program and with respect to its financing of terrorist activities, thereby threatening international peace and security.
The petitioners call upon the government of Canada to recognize the grave concern that Mr. Khavari poses in this regard to peace and security in general. They ask that the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism look into the situation with respect to the acquisition of citizenship and permanent residence, and whether these were acquired by fraud, misrepresentation or any form of concealed material circumstances.