The below is posted on behalf of the greater Iranian-Canadian community and is intended only for Iranians Living in Canada.
Please read the following letter and add your signature below.
A Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister’s Office
House of Commons
Ottawa K1A OA6
Re: The Iranian Canadian Congress Solely Speaks for Itself and Does Not Represent the Views of the
Iranian Canadian Community as a Whole
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
We the undersigned are writing to apprise you and other members of the House of Commons that the Iranian Canadian Congress (“ICC”), which purports to represent the views of Iranian-Canadians, current leadership has become a ramshackle organization that fails to comply with the most elemental norms of an incorporated community-based organizations, and should not be deemed by any elected official or political organization to represent the views of the Iranian-Canadian Community, or by extension to speak on our behalf. Despite its pretensions, the current leaders of ICC have repeatedly demonstrated that it does not consider itself accountable to members of our community, and as such cannot feign to represent our interests.
As you are aware the Iranian-Canadian community consists of approximately 300,000 individuals that reside in every province across Canada. The Iranian Canadian Congress was established in Ontario approximately 11 years ago with a mandate to advocate on behalf of the community. While we do not intend to undertake an elaborate examination of the history of the ICC, we the undersigned collectively agree that in the last three years the leadership of the organization has been taken over by a new executive that has effectively handpicked their designated friends to serve on the Board of Directors of the Organization, and have deliberately resisted any attempt to promote transparency or to allow individuals with divergent perspectives to be elected to the Board of Directors of the Organization.
Since its Annual General Meeting of May 2015, the Board of Directors of the ICC has refused to comply not only with its own bylaws, but even more significantly with requirements imposed on all organizations duly incorporated in the province of Ontario. Given the Board of Directors’ deliberate attempts to eschew any attempt to abide by even the most minimal requirements of disclosure, and the organization’s failure to file annual audited financial reports as required of all organizations incorporated in Ontario, members of the Iranian Canadian community are completely in the dark as to the number of paid members the Organization purportedly represents, nor possess any idea as to the financial health of the Organization.
The Board of Directors of the ICC has patently refused to respond to numerous requests by either members of our community, or even its own paid membership, to divulge its membership or the state of the Organization’s finances. Moreover, by withholding information regarding the membership of the Organization any prospective Candidate and by extending on-line voting privileges to individuals of their own liking that have neither paid membership dues nor reside in Canada, the Board of Directors has effectively prevented any individuals other than those handpicked by the Board of Directors itself to be duly elected to the Board. Consequently, the members of the Board of Directors of the ICC over the course of the last several years have consisted of random twenty-something individuals with no trace of relevant achievement relating to the core mandate of the ICC, or any semblance of a record of civic participation in our community.
Given the ICC’s reckless failure to disclose such pertinent information to the membership of the Organization, or to members of our community at large, we have witnessed the ICC deracinate itself from our community, and instead morph in to an Organization beholden to the priorities of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In other words, the Organization has completely abrogated its fiduciary responsibility to advocate on behalf of the Organization’s membership or by extension members of the Iranian-Canadian community residing in Canada, and has instead opted to align its demands squarely with the positions of an undemocratic Government that represents an anathema to essentially every member of the Iranian Canadian community that have fled that country with the aspiration to make a new home for themselves in Canada.
Members of our community are not only alarmed by the orientation of the ICC since 2015, but have also unearthed evidence directly linking members of the current Board of Directors of the Iranian Canadian Congress with leading members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (an entity at the center of the Iranian Regime’s military-industrial complex and affiliated with numerous organizations currently listed as a sanctioned entities in Canada), or other functionaries and financial elites and organs of the Iranian regime. In fact, the kinship ties that bind several individual members of the Board of Directors of the ICC with leading figures of the Iranian regime have been openly reported by Iranian Canadian newspapers published in Canada.
Moreover, above and beyond such dubious ties, members of our community were horrified to learn that the Policy Director of the Iranian Canadian Congress recently visited Tehran on a lengthy trip, for the presumed purpose of meeting decision makers in that country. A cursory review of the positions adopted by the ICC in the past year also confirm that the Organization is content to act as a mouthpiece for the Iranian Government, rather than advocate on behalf of the Iranian Canadian community.
When widespread demonstrations rocked Iran in late 2017 and early 2018, rather than condemn the brutal approach of the Iranian Government as did all reputable organizations and Governments, the ICC opted to overlook the legitimate demands of the peaceful protestors and instead essentially referred to them as rabble-rousers and vagabonds in their public communication.
Similarly, when several Board members of the Iranian Canadian Congress appeared before the Heritage Committee of the House of Commons in October 2017, they summarily dismissed concerns raised by Members of Parliament regarding the tragic plight of members of the Bahai faith in Iran, and rather than condemn the Iranian Government’s inhumane practices, the Policy Director of the ICC testified that he was completely unaware of systematic atrocities the Bahai community have been subjected to in Iran over the last several decades. However, it should be underscored, as noted above, the Policy Director of the ICC could not have realistically feigned ignorant of the intolerable condition of the Bahai community in Iran given his recent visit to that country.
In light of the ICC’s decidedly pro-Iranian Government tendencies, coupled with its abject failure to adhere to the most minimal requirements of transparency or accountability to either its own membership or the Iranian-Canadian community at large, we deem it necessary to advise all elected officials and Canadian political parties not to labor under the illusion that the ICC is a legitimate organization representing the diverse views of our community. The organization merely acts as the alter ego of individuals acting on its Board of Directors.
Although the organization flatly refuses to disclose its duly paid membership, our considered view is that the meagre membership of the group is unlikely to exceed more than a hundred bona fide paid members. Indeed a cursory review of the official facebook account of the Organization belies any contention that the ICC enjoys broad support in our community. Two recent events convened by the ICC amply illustrate the extent to which the Organization lacks a following in our community. By way of example, when the ICC convened a panel discussion in Ottawa on June 20, 2018 a mere 25 individuals attended the event, and the sole Member of Parliament to drop in was M.P. Majid Jowhari (Richmond Hill). Perhaps even more telling was the event the ICC convened in Toronto on August 19, 2018 to introduce six candidates of Iranian origin running for city council in Toronto.
Only a handful of Iranian Canadians attended the event, but even more telling was the reality that the four leading candidates of Iranian Canadian origin refused to attend given their concern with being sullied by attending an event organized by a group associated with the Iranian regime. It remains to add in conclusion, that given our sensitivity to the association of the ICC to leading personalities and organs of the Iranian regime, we hereby forewarn all Members of Parliament and political parties that should they in the future partake in the activities of the ICC, we will vigilantly call them out to the public and the media for their willful association with such a nefarious organization. Should you be willing to meet with representatives of individuals listed below to better familiarize yourself with the questionable activities of the ICC, we would be happy to comply by arranging to meet with you in person at your convenience.
For any inquiries please contact: [email protected]
cc: Mr. Andrew Scheer, Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition
cc: Mr. Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
cc: Ms. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada
cc: Senator Peter Harder, Representative of the Government in the Senate
cc: Senator Yuen Pau Woo, Leader of the Independent Senators Group
cc: Senator Larry Smith, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate cc: Mr. Ali Ehsassi, M.P.
cc: Mr. Majid Jowhari, M.P.
Add Your Signature Below (Iranian-Canadians Only)
- Afshin Afshin Jam , HR , Animal Rights and Political Activist, Co founder “ Peace and Humanity”, Co founder “ AMIA”
- Shahla Ghafouri, Teacher, Toronto District School Board
- Salman Sima, political activist and former Iranian political prisoner
- Ashkan Yazdci, human rights activist and former Iranian political prisoner
- Mehdi Amin, activist
- Shahin Nejad, human rights activist and director of healthcare management group
- Soroush Seifi, human rights activist and Student at law
- Ardeshir Zarezadeh, human rights activist and former Iranian political prisoner
- Siavash Safavi, activist and writer and former Iranian political prisoner
- Siavash Bahman, human rights activist and former Iranian political prisoner
- Hamid Ghahremani, political activist
- Afshin Soroudi, activist
- Ari Moghimi, Activist
- Ali Ashtari, activist
- Ali Vakili, activist
- Bahram Bahrami, activist
- Houshang Firoozi
- Taha Hassaniani, Kurdish activist
- Freydon Rahmani, Kurdish activist
- Nikahang Kowsar, journalist and writer and former Iranian political prisoner
- Afshin Karimi, human rights activist and former Iranian political prisoner
- Alireza Mohamadi, human rights activist and former Iranian political prisoner
- Tahere Peyrovi, human rights activist
- Behnam Daraeizadeh, human rights activist and analyst
- Vida Atefy, Legal practitioner and activist
- Dr. Shahriar Akhavan, Physician
- Dr. Naser Mesri, Physician
- Dr. Nastaran Yazdi, Physician
- Ahad Shahrampour, Self employed
- Hossein Gholipoor, Senior IT Specialist
- Mahin Shakeri, Employee,
- Sahar Mirshafiei, Mortgage Agent
- Dr. Ataollah Nadimi, Physician
- Mahvash Nadimi, Teacher
- Sahar Arya, graduate student
- Sam Arya, Graduate Student
- Bijan Yahyapoor, Import/ Export businessman
- Zohreh Bakhtiar, Social Activist, Translator
- Houshang Firoozi, Engineer
- Fereshteh Firoozi, Self Employed
- Ali Gheshmi, UPS Employee
- Shahin Gheshmi, University Student
- Farideh Gheshmi, Nurse
- Parvin Jahanshahi, Self employed, Social activist
- Parvaneh Jahanshahi, Nurse
- Ahad Shahrampoor, Self employed
- Ali Mansoorifar, Self employed
- Foroogh Mansoorifar,
- Dr. Nazanin Shams, Physician
- Khatereh Azarfar, VP of Product Development Ericsson
- Mohammad Javad Hariri, nd (Naturopathic Doctor)
- Morteza Mesri, Engineer
- Batool Momen
- Sohaila Khodakhah, Senior Buyer
- Nahid Sahel, Teacher Assistant
- Sevil Sahelgozin, Import/ Export
- Karim Amjadi, Self employed,Photographer
- Vahid Afshar, Human rights activist
- Avideh Motmaenfar, President, Council of Iranian Canadians
- Parvaneh Moradi, Social Worker
- Arshak Shojaei, Maintenance Manager, Political Activist, Secular Democracy Party
- Shahram Namvar Azad, Optician,
- Sophie Namvar Azad, Graduate Student
- Fatemeh Mansoorifar, Boar member, Council of Iranian Canadians
- Sam Khosravifar, Environmentalist
- Reza Banai,Chair, Justice 88
- Zahra Nouri, Self employed
- Mohammad Khodakhah, Self Employed
- Nahid Ghafouri, Business System Analyst
- Sahar Bakhshi, Graduate Student
- Nastaran Niki Aliei, microbiologist, Political Activist, Secular Democracy Party
- Sepideh Bakhshi,Terrestrial Ecologist
- Shahram Khoshsefat, Musician
- Heshmat Yahyavi, Self employed
- Laleh Mansouri, Financial Advisor
- Dr. Vahid Shams, Physician
- Roxana Afra, Self Employed
- Gitii Sanoughi, Social Activist
- Mehri Shahmoradi, Retired Teacher, Toronto District School Board
- Khosrow Bahrayni, Swimming Instructor
- Mohsen Dourdan, Human Rights Activist
- Ali Nikjoo, Candidate of York Region Trustee
- Rahmat Jahani, Retired
- Sohrab Ghorbani, Self employed
- Maly Ayazi, University employee
- Masood Fanaian, Airline Pilot
- Hassan Kia, Retired
- Mersedeh Manavi, Graphic designer
- Zahra Sarhadizadeh, Self employed
- Soheila Zarrabi, Artist and Activist
- Mina Pourmanafi, Self employed
- Mohammad Arastafar, Retired Pharmacist
- Ali Sartipi, President of MH SYSTEMS
- Nasser Maleki, Self Employed
- Ms. Roya Araghi, Human Rights activist,
- Ms. Maryam Shafipour, Human rights advocate,
- Mr. Davood Ghavami , President ICC Vancouver , BC
- Mr. Mehrdad Rahbar, Artist, Political activist,
- Dr Sam Assadpour, MD C.E.O community Oriented Health Advisory Network [COHAN], Former board member and Secretary of ICC
- Reza Doust, President of Iranian Canadian Association of Burnaby, Vancouver B.C.
- Esmail Ebrahimi, B.A.United Kurd Society of Canada
- Masoud Nejati; Business Franchiser , political activist
- Kei Esmaeilpour, PMP, MSM
- Dr. Farrokh Zandi , Former president of ICC, Professor of Economics, Schulich School of Business, York