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Last Tango with Tehran
Canada owes it to Kazemi

Samira Mohyeddin
July 29, 2004

The Kazemi verdict is in and no one is guilty. No one is guilty for the seventy-two hour detention, torture, and killing of a Canadian photojournalist.

The official story from Iran is almost as absurd, as it is puzzling. First, Kazemi had a brain attack. Second, she was hit on the head. Third, she had low blood pressure, because she was on a hunger strike and, as a result, fell down.

On Wednesday July 28, 2004, more than a year after her death, Iran's judiciary proclaimed, "that the incident leading to the death of the late Kazemi was because of a drop in her blood sugar level caused by a hunger strike, thus making her fall from a standing position and get hurt". [News]

Personally, I think the professor did it with a candleholder in the study.

Kazemi's fall from grace was no accident. In fact, at different times during the past year, the Iranian government has been so bold as to blame Kazemi herself. The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, not only in its handling of the Kazemi affair, but also in its systemic violation of human rights, has demonstrated for the world the totalitarian and theocratic nature of its regime, and when an odious convention is exposed by reducing it to its most ridiculous form, it cannot exist very long.

The fact is that more than seventy percent of Iran's population is under the age of twenty-five, and for that seventy percent, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is an illegitimate government; a government which they played no role in shaping or bringing to fruition.

Along with taking all the necessary diplomatic measures to show their discontent, the Canadian government would do well in officially acknowledging the student led democratic movement in Iran; a movement that has struggled to occupy a place in the so-called reformers versus conservatives paradigm, and despite that struggle, has overwhelmingly bared the blows of the Iranian governments batons.

In light of the fact that Kazemi was in Iran chronicling the democratic movement of Iran's students, when detained by Iranian agents, it is imperative that Canada picks up where Kazemi was forced off. She gave her life because she believed that the democratic student movement in Iran was entitled to recognition, and the Canadian government should ensure that her death not be in vain.

As the Canadian government continues to "search" for the truth, Canadian citizens should be able to trust that they will address the realities of the Iranian system of governance and speak to its duplicitous policy of mouthing the words of democracy, while sanctioning the detention and torture of not only its own citizens, but also citizens of the international community.

As Canada has been slow to realize, the reality is that there is no independent judiciary in the Islamic Republic of Iran; there is only the reality of absolute rule, in the form of a supreme jurisconsult (Velayat e faqih), who receives his mandate from the cosmos.

The truth is that a Canadian photojournalist was illegally detained, beaten, tortured, and killed. For Canada to continue its fruitless engagement with the Islamic Republic of Iran is not only non-sensical, but also disingenuous. It was a Canadian that penned the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, a declaration that the Iranian government is a signatory to, and Canada must occupy a prominent role in its enforcement.


Samira Mohyeddin has a degree in Religion and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Toronto and is currently the communications officer for the Canadian Committee for Democracy in Iran (CCDI).

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