Canadians of Iranian descent, victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism, and human rights advocates, are supporting S-219.

Are Iran-sponsored terror-proxies active in Canada?

Public Safety Canada:

"Hezbollah has networks around the world, including in Canada, and uses the networks for recruitment, fundraising and procurement.”137

Hezbollah Expert Mathew Levitt:

“Hezbollah has been active in Canada since the 1980s raising money through criminal activities and charity, procuring dual-use items, and sometimes engaging in potentially preoperational surveillance of principally Jewish and Israeli targets … produces false travel documents in Canada and in a few instances fugitive Hezbollah operatives … have been found hiding in Canada.”138

* * * * *

A 2016 report by the Department of Public Safety stated that Hezbollah “has networks around the world, including in Canada, and uses the networks for recruitment, fundraising and procurement.”

It notes correctly that Hezbollah is an extremist group ideologically inspired by the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 and supported by the Iranian state that “remains one of the world's most capable terrorist groups”.139 These activities across the globe have been funded to the tune of billions of dollars by Iran as candidly admitted by Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah in a recent statement:

 “Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.... As long as Iran has money, we have money.” 140

The organization has been active in Canada for decades and Canadian recruits have been involved in terrorist acts in various countries.141

As noted by Mathew Levitt “Canadian officials sometimes refer to their overall program of tracking Hezbollah’s activities… as the “the Hezbollah Investigation” as if it were one single case …The terminology signals the government’s holistic approach to the organization…. The RCMP produced a paper aimed at clarifying the activity likely to happen … by people who may be Hezbollah sympathizers, supporters, members and all the way to trained militants and terrorist operatives.”142

Selected examples of Hezbollah’s Canadian involvements are listed below:

a) 2016 Government Report on “The Terrorist Threat to Canada”: “Hezbollah is supported by the Iranian State and has networks in Canada”

“Hezbollah is an extremist group ideologically inspired by the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 and supported by the Iranian state. It remains one of the world's most capable terrorist groups. The Government of Canada listed Hezbollah as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code in 2002.Hezbollah has networks around the world, including in Canada, and uses the networks for recruitment, fundraising and procurement.”143

b) CSIS: Hezbollah tied to organized crime in Canada (2014)

“Hezbollah members in Canada are involved in organized crime, according to Canadian Security Intelligence Service reports and documents. Members of the outlawed group — banned as a terrorist entity in Canada since 2002 — also are secretly engaging in fundraising, procurement of materials and intelligence gathering, according to a "threat assessment" report by the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre. Hezbollah's activities here were among the subjects the spy agency expressed concern about in a "top secret" 10-page letter he wrote and delivered last July to Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, soon after he was sworn in. CSIS director Michel Coulombe's letter described ongoing programs and threats. “Hezbollah is widely considered to be one of the most operationally capable terrorist organizations in the world,” Coulombe wrote in his letter, obtained under the Access to Information Act.”144

c) CSIS: “Hezbollah deliberately seeks Canadians because of internationally accepted passports” (2014)

“The terrorist group Hezbollah has been seeking operatives with Canadian passports, a senior intelligence official told MPs reviewing a bill … that could strip terrorists of their citizenship. Appearing before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service official said Canadian passport holders were being actively sought by terrorist groups. “We see certain terrorist organizations in particular target the use of the Canadian passport because of its value, …” said Michael Peirce, the CSIS Assistant Director of Intelligence. “And they will seek out dual nationals for the purpose of using that passport to facilitate travel. And we’ve seen that, at least some indications, in regard to Hezbollah, for instance. So that document is an extremely valuable document and gaining citizenship in order to be able to use that document is a noted goal.”145

d) Canadian terrorist, who was a senior Hezbollah member, killed by Syrian rebels

“Fawzi Ayoub was a hijacker, international terrorist operative and senior member of Hezbollah. He was also a naturalized Canadian citizen…. The 48-year-old former Toronto supermarket employee, who rose through the ranks of Hezbollah despite his tendency for getting arrested before completing his missions, was declared a “martyr” on a Facebook page filled with photos of him in battle fatigues. The Lebanese-Canadian had been on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list since 2009….”146

e) Hezbollah Scouted Targets in Canada (2012)

“In Canada, Hezbollah is “primarily involved in logistics and operational support activities and fundraising destined for terrorist purposes overseas, but the group has scouted targets in Canada, and after terrorist chief Imad Mugniyah was assassinated in Damascus in 2008, Canadian security officials warned the Jewish community that Hezbollah might be planning a revenge attack.” 147

f) Hezbollah uses Canada as base: CSIS Agency wiretaps show suspected operatives using laundered money to buy materiel (2002) (selected examples):148

“Operatives in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal”

 “[CSIS] documents detail how Hezbollah has laundered tens of thousands of dollars through Canadian banks while drawing on the accounts to shop for military equipment. Hezbollah agents shopped for blasting devices, night-vision goggles, powerful computers and camera equipment … [I]ntelligence reports show the group has been using Canada in recent years to buy materiel, forge travel documents, raise money and steal luxury vehicles. CSIS reports … show that in 1999 and 2000, Hezbollah sent detailed shopping lists to agents who were allegedly part of a network with operatives in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal who filled the orders and shipped the equipment back to Lebanon….”149

“The “Miracle Strike”

“Canadian Hezbollah agents also discussed a scam they called a "miracle strike," which involved taking out life insurance on someone and then having them killed in a bombardment in Lebanon.” 150

“A vast cross-Canada network”

“The extent of Hezbollah operations … first came to light in the 1990s when … Mohammed Hussein al-Husseini was arrested for deportation. He told CSIS about a vast cross-Canada network. …In two cases, alleged Hezbollah agents wanted for terrorist activities overseas were found hiding out in Edmonton and Ottawa. One of them has been charged with taking part in a 1993 bombing attack in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans. “Hezbollah has members in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto – all of Canada,” Mr. Al-Husseini, a member of Hezbollah's security organization, told CSIS before he was deported in 1994.”151

Hezbollah collecting Information on Canada – “in case there’s a problem”

“Hezbollah wants to collect information on … life in Canada, its roads and so on, in case there's a problem with Canada." He was reportedly referring to videotapes of Canadian landmarks sent to Hezbollah.”152

g) Hezbollah websites hosted in Canada, U.S., says University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab

In a report released Nov. 17, 2011 the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab found that Canada-based servers host websites for more than a dozen ministries of the Syrian government. They also host the website for the Hezbullah media arm Al-Manar.

As the Canadian government has sanctioned all three groups, the findings raise important legal questions, said Deibert.… “We encourage governments, civil society, and the private sector to seriously consider how best to handle the expanding responsibilities of web hosting companies and how due process and proper accountability mechanisms can be normalized in ways that protect free speech and access to information, while avoiding support for human rights abuses and repressive regimes….”

The website for Al-Manar -- the official media arm of the Lebanese political party, Hezbollah -- is hosted on Canada- and U.S.-based web servers and employs Canada-based web servers to stream its TV broadcast globally. Al-Manar satellite broadcasts have been banned by the US, France, Spain, and Germany as well as the European Union. The United States includes Al-Manar on its specially designated nationals list, a list of entities with which U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing, and the assets of which are blocked. Canada currently classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.153

h) Who is Mohamad Hassan Dbouk and why did he come to Canada?

Hezbollah operative Said Harb assisted Mohammed Hassan Dbouk to come to Canada from Lebanon in 1998:

“Dbouk, whom Harb would later testify had received extensive military training before coming to Canada, ran the Canadian arm of Hezbollah’s dual-use item procurement efforts. Dbouk and his brother-in-law, Ali Adham Amhaz, were working under the direction of Haj Hassan Hilu Laqis, who was at that time the chief military procurement officer for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Items destined for Hezbollah included GPS and surveying equipment, camera and video devices, computer equipment, night vision goggles, and mine and metal detectors. Dbouk was deemed a pivotal Hezbollah operative ….”154

“In 2001, Mohammad Dbouk was indicted in U.S. federal court under Operation Smokescreen.... U.S. Attorney Robert Conrad, whose office successfully prosecuted the Hezbollah case in Charlotte, testified before the U.S. Congress that according to intelligence he’d examined, “Dbouk is such a major player in the Hezbollah organization that on five separate occasions his application to be a martyr was rejected.” Given his overall intelligence, his military training, and his expertise in information operations, Dbouk was too valuable a commodity to expend on a martyrdom mission.”155

i) “Hezbollah members in Canada receive and comply with direction from the Hezbollah leadership hierarchy in Lebanon”

 “… What is surmised is that in the past Canada has been used by some of these groups as a safe house. The premise is that there are no attacks on Canadians or Canadian assets because it's valuable [to terrorists] because of its proximity to the United States. But where's the evidence? Nobody knows but CSIS," said Janice Stein, a professor at the University of Toronto who is a specialist on the Mideast.

In a 19-page summary of evidence released Friday in support of government efforts to deport Hani Abdel Rahim Hussein Sayegh, accused of being a key participant in the June 1996 truck bombing, Canadian authorities reported that “Hezbollah has established an infrastructure in Canada that can assist and support terrorists seeking a safe haven in North America. Hezbollah members in Canada receive and comply with direction from the Hezbollah leadership hierarchy in Lebanon.”156

List of Questions:

  1. What are the key provisions of S-219?

    This bill provides for strengthening of Canada’s sanctions regime against Iran for its support of terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations; and for the identification of Iranian officials responsible for such activities. The Act has several key components: a.       Government Report –...

    Read More
  2. What has precipitated Canada’s strained relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran?

    Iran’s illegal and egregious actions against Canadian citizens; its status as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism; its severe violation of the human rights of its own citizenry; and its flouting of the international community have generated these tensions with Canada and other countries. As outlined below, the difficulties ...

    Read More
  3. What is S-219 intended to accomplish?

    What can sanctions achieve? – Despite clear limitations, sanctions have been utilized as an instrument of statecraft by Canada and other western countries in hundreds of cases over the last century – even when the sanctions themselves have not directly generated a “solution” for the crisis or behaviours being targeted. ...

    Read More
  4. Is S-219 a partisan bill?

    S-219 was introduced by Conservative Senator David Tkachuk and was seconded by Liberal Senator George Baker. S-219 is supported by a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to combatting terrorism, promoting human rights, and supporting the people of Iran in their struggle for democracy. Sen. Tkachuk worked closely with a ...

    Read More
  5. Will S-219 impact ordinary Iranian citizens living in Iran?

    This bill will not impose further hardship on ordinary Iranian citizens in Iran who have already been victimized by the regime’s policies. As noted by Richard Nephew – an architect of the JCPOA who was critical of some aspects of S-219: In this case, the unintended consequences on the humanitarian impact of this bill are probably ...

    Read More
  6. Does S-219 prevent the Canadian government from reengaging with Iran?

    S-219 does not preclude a restoration of diplomatic relations with Iran or business dealings between Canada and the Iranian regime. It simply offers a framework for balancing Canada’s stated concerns with Iran’s egregious behaviours and the government’s objective of reengagement. It seeks only to exclude those regime entities ...

    Read More
  7. Some have claimed that Iran will refuse “reengagement” with Canada if S-219 were to pass. Should S-219 be rejected on this basis?

    Iran is currently doing business with Canada despite being subject to Canadian sanctions under SEMA, and despite being listed by Canada as a State Supporter of Terror. (Iran for instance recently purchased $100 million in aircraft from Bombardier47). Furthermore, Iran is “engaging” other countries that also have imposed sanctions ...

    Read More
  8. One critic claimed that passing S-219 will put Canada on the “margins of international relations with Iran”. Is this true?

    It is the Iranian regime which has put itself – with malice and forethought –  on the margins of the civilized world by its own behaviors over the last 37 years. Most recently with the signing of the JCPOA the regime was provided yet another opportunity to demonstrate some semblance of good will on issues related to terrorism and ...

    Read More
  9. Some have claimed that the regime can be held

    There is little if any precedent suggesting that Iranian violations can be mitigated by merely engaging in diplomatic disapproval or issuing condemnatory statements ungrounded in a concrete legislative format: a)  Past Precedents –The Iranian regime has made itself perfectly and unabashedly clear over the last 38 years, that it ...

    Read More
  10. Doesn’t Canada already maintain some SEMA sanctions against Iran? What is S-219 adding to the current SEMA regulations?

    Canada already sanctions Iran under SEMA. S-219 simply stipulates that those sanctions already in place can be lessened only if Iran shows significant change with regard to terror sponsorship, human rights abuses and incitement to hatred. It also applies existing sanctions to additional targets as if they were persons whose names are listed in the ...

    Read More
  11. Do Iranian violations meet the threshold for continued listing under SEMA as stipulated in S-219?

    Yes. a) As noted at greater length in FAQ #12, the precedents for sanctioning Iran under SEMA are clear.  In the case of Burma for instance, SEMA regulations were imposed as a result of the abhorrent human rights and humanitarian situation in Burma is particularly dangerous as the government's actions not only oppress its own people,...

    Read More
  12. Have any other countries imposed new sanctions on Iran for human rights violations since the signing of the JCPOA?

    Yes. a) In May 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed the first human rights-related sanctions designations against Iranian individuals and entities since December 2014.62 b) In April 2017, the European Council has extended sanctions against Iran. The extended EU measures hitting Iran include a travel ban and asset-freeze ...

    Read More
  13. S-219 requires that Canada consider listing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in its entirety as a terrorist entity. Are other lawmakers considering similar measures?

    Yes. a) On August 2, 2017, President Trump signed Congressional sanctions against Iran, known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. The law requires the president to extend a terrorism designation pursuant to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its foreign agents and affiliates by Oct. ...

    Read More
  14. Some critics have suggested that S-219 will set an undesirable “precedent” in Canadian policy. Is this true? Does S-219 set a precedent for sanctioning human rights violations?

    The precedent for sanctioning the Iranian regime for these violations was established in Canadian policy long before S-219 was introduced in the Senate. Here are several examples: a) Prime Minister Brian Mulroney The first precedent for sanctioning Iran’s legislatively mandated and institutionalized discrimination towards minorities, ...

    Read More
  15. How is S-219 different from the Magnitsky Legislation?

    a) While we support the passage of the Magnitsky Bill, we do not believe that the Magnitsky legislation could be a substitute for S-219 - or vice versa.  We believe that each of these bills provides different tools for different albeit related issues --  and one cannot take the place of the other. Both are needed as part of ...

    Read More
  16. What is Iran’s international ranking as a human rights violator?

    Freedom House 2017 Report - Iran74 Iran’s Aggregate Score – 17/100 (0=least free, 100=most free)   Human Freedom Index 2016 – Iran75 Iran’s Human Freedom ranking – Iran ranked 157 out of 159 countries Personal Freedom score – 3.9/10   World Justice Project Rule of Law Index ...

    Read More
  17. Is religious discrimination sanctioned under Iran’s constitution?

    Yes – it is essentially mandated in Iran’s constitution. Euopean Parliament Report: “[Twelver Shia Islam is] – the only religion deemed ‘revolution compliant’ by the state. First, the Iranian Constitution itself enshrines discrimination by stating in its article 13 that the only recognised religious minorities...

    Read More
  18. Does Iran discriminate against Muslim and non-Muslim ethnic minorities?

    Yes. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human rights in Iran notes that the Government accepted only 2 out of the 25 recommendations regarding ethnic and religious minorities made during the 2014 universal periodic review.80 Amnesty International: Iran’s disadvantaged ethnic minorities, including Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis, ...

    Read More
  1. Why did the former chair of Amnesty International USA refer to the Iranian regime as “Neo-Apartheid”?

    Professor Winston Nagan: “Having grown up with the indignities of the apartheid system in South Africa, I bristle whenever … anyone equate a government's treatment of a portion of its citizenry to apartheid.  Usually, the claims are exaggerated. But in Iran today, the government's treatment of the Baha'i community...

    Read More
  2. Has Iranian President Hassan Rouhani justified the soaring rates of capital punishment in Iran?

    Speaking to commanders of the Iranian regime's State Security Forces Rouhani stated that: “When someone is condemned to death and he comes to the gallows according to the law, then we have no right to insult him as he is being taken to the gallows… in any case, the law has condemned him and he is punished and this has nothing to do...

    Read More
  3. Does Iran execute juveniles?

    Yes. The UN Special Rapporteur (2017): “The Islamic Republic of Iran has reportedly executed the highest number of juvenile offenders worldwide, over the past decade. Despite an absolute ban on the practice under international law, the Islamic Penal Code still explicitly provides for the death penalty for boys of at least 15 lunar years of...

    Read More
  4. How has as the current government of Iran justified the continued use of torture, amputations and floggings as legitimate judicial tools?

    Yes. The UN Special Rapporteur (2017) -- The Government did not accept any of the 20 recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur regarding torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment made during the 2014 universal periodic review. As highlighted in previous UN reports, the Government rejects the notion that amputations ...

    Read More
  5. Are child marriages legal under Iranian law?

    UN Special Rapporteur (2017): “Child marriage remains legally possible for girls aged 13 years and boys aged 15 years. Even younger children can be married with the permission of the court but the marriage may not be consummated until puberty. In June 2016, a spokesperson for the Tehran-based Association to Protect the Rights of Children ...

    Read More
  6. Is honour-based violence against women legitimate under Iranian law?

    UN Special Rapporteur (2017): “…Certain provisions might even condone sexual abuse, such as article 1108 of the Civil Code, which obliges wives to fulfil the sexual needs of their husbands at all times. Similar concerns apply to provisions such as articles 301 and 612 of the Islamic Penal Code of 2013, which provide for lighter ...

    Read More
  7. Has Iran’s unjust imprisonment of Iranian dual nationals from western countries increased since the signing of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA)?

    Yes. The increase was noted in a 2016 report by the European Parliament98, and Iran in fact has not denied it. See the following excerpt from an Iranian newspaper: Financial Tribune (Mar. 2017): An Iranian lawmaker said western intelligence services and spying networks are trying to "inflict damage on our country" by taking advantage ...

    Read More
  8. Has Iran assassinated dissidents and others opposed to the regime living abroad?

    Prof. Payam Akhavan – McGill University, Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague “Until very recently, Iran’s biggest trading partner was the EU. …[M]ore than 200 Iranian dissidents were assassinated in the streets of Berlin and Paris and very rarely was the Iranian government held to account. So the ...

    Read More
  9. Has there been any improvement in Iran’s human rights record under the tenure of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani?

    No.  According to most human rights experts the situation has remained unchanged or has worsened: The UN Special Rapporteur (2017): “The Special Rapporteur regrets that the information she received did not reveal any notable improvement in the situation of human rights in the country.”103 The Hon. Irwin Cotler (Senate ...

    Read More
  10. But didn’t Iran make certain legislative changes in response to the report of UN Special Rapporteur?

    Report of the European Parliament (2017): “Similarly, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran concluded that political and legislative reform has not produced tangible effects. More specifically, there is a major gap between the legislation that has been put in place and the practices implemented by the state in ...

    Read More
  11. Has Iran abandoned its policy of assassinating dissidents and others opposed to the regime living abroad?

    Apparently not – despite promises112 to do so. See below: Brigadier General Hossein Salami – Deputy Commander of the IRGC Tasnim News Agency (2016): "We warn the enemies of Islamic Republic of Iran: Do not make this mistake again as the revolutionary forces will chase them and kill them anywhere in the ...

    Read More
  12. Why is Iran widely acknowledged as world’s most egregious state-sponsor of terrorism?

    Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah (June 24, 2016) “Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of ...

    Read More
  13. How much funding does Iran provide for global terrorism?

    The U.S. State Departments 2016 Country Report on Terrorism lists 58 "Foreign Terrorist Organizations," (many of them are also designated as terrorist entities by Canada) of which over a dozen are allied with Iran.125 Terrorism experts maintain that has Iran invested billions of dollars in terrorism: a) Congressional Report ...

    Read More
  14. Has Canada formally recognized Iran’s leading role in sponsoring global terrorism?

    Yes. Iran is Listed in Canada as a State Supporter of Terror – Iran is listed in Canada (and in the U.S.) as a State Supporter of Terrorism. On July 1st, 2017, the Canada Gazette reported that after a review, the Foreign Minister determined that Canada will continue listing Iran and Syria as “State Supporters of Terrorism” ...

    Read More
  15. Have Canadians been hurt or killed by Iran-sponsored terrorism?

    Yes. Several Canadians were murdered in Hamas terrorist attacks, including Mr. Scott Goldberg, a father of seven who was murdered when a Hamas terrorist incinerated a busload of travelers in January 2004 in Jerusalem. Other Canadians have been injured in Hamas attacks, including Dr. Sherri Wise of Vancouver. Dr. Wise was severely injured in a...

    Read More
  16. Have Iranian-Canadians or permanent residents been unjustly imprisoned by the Iranian regime?

    Yes.   The list can be found below: a) Iranian-Canadian Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani – just sentenced to five years in prison for espionage, is an accountant involved in the financial aspects of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA). b) Canadian Permanent Resident Saeed Malekpour (2008 - ?) – Malekpour was arrested in October 2008...

    Read More
  17. Are Iran-sponsored terror-proxies active in Canada?

    Public Safety Canada: "Hezbollah has networks around the world, including in Canada, and uses the networks for recruitment, fundraising and procurement.”137 Hezbollah Expert Mathew Levitt: “Hezbollah has been active in Canada since the 1980s raising money through criminal activities and charity, procuring dual-use items, ...

    Read More
  18. Aside from the Hezbollah presence in Canada, are there other reasons for concern regarding Iranian influence and interference in Canada?

    Yes. a) Iran’s Spymaster: Lobbying Group for Iran is Active in Canada (2017) “Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s intelligence minister, in recent remarks  bragged about the Islamic Republic’s ability to operate an unnamed “lobby group” in the United States, Canada, and England, remain devoted to the ...

    Read More

Contact a Senator Today

Urge them to vote for Bill S-219

Canadian Coalition Against Terror

Please, enter a valid value

Incorrect values!