Protestors in support of women in Iran hold a banner reading 'Women Life Freedom' during a protest following the death of Mahsa Amini, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 29, 2022.

Canada's Foreign Interference Commission To Review Adding Iran To List

Thursday, 03/28/2024

Canada's Foreign Interference Commission is set to decide on adding Iran to its list of foreign governments meddling in the country's internal political affairs.

In September, Canada launched a public inquiry into the interference of foreign governments, particularly Russia, China and India, in the country’s federal electoral processes and democratic institutions.

At its meeting on Wednesday, the commission hosted representatives of the immigrant communities from Iran, Russian, China and India.

Canada-based Iranian dissident Hamed Esmaeilion warned Iran should be included in the list of the countries to be investigated by the commission. 

Esmaeilion, who attended the commission’s meeting as the representative of the families of victims who perished in the downing of a Ukrainian airliner by the IRGC in 2020, said, "Although Iran’s name is not yet on the list of the commission, I attended the meeting to discuss Tehran’s attempts to interfere with Canadian affairs."

He told Iran International that there are institutions affiliated with the Iranian regime which operate in Canada, saying, "These institutions are in the minority but try to influence Canada’s macro policies."

Should Iran be added to the list, Canada’s security and intelligence agencies will be obligated to provide the commission with confidential information so that it can decide about Iran’s possible role in Canada’s domestic policies, especially 2019 and 2021 elections.

In November, Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center (MTAC) warned that Iran, Russia and China are likely to plan to influence the upcoming elections in the US and other countries in 2024.

Last month, Canadian-Iranian lawmaker, Ali Ehsassi, called for an inquiry about Tehran’s potential interference in the country’s elections.

“Given the catalogue of malign and illegal activities committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran on Canadian soil, it would be naïve to believe that the Iranian regime has any compunction to shape public opinion in Canada,” he said in a letter to the Foreign Interference Commission, calling for soliciting testimony and relevant documentation from Iranian-Canadians and others with a substantial interest in the proceedings.

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