What is S-219?
S-219 provides for ongoing analysis of terrorist activity, support of terrorism, incitement to hatred, human rights violations emanating from Iran; the identification of Iranian officials responsible for such activities; and strengthening Canada’s sanctions against the regime entities responsible for these violations. S-219 will not prevent Canada from reengaging with Iran nor will it impact ordinary Iranian citizens. It targets only those regime entities responsible for human rights violations and sponsoring terrorism.
Who Supports S-219?
S-219 was introduced by Conservative Senator David Tkachuk and seconded by Liberal Senator George Baker. The bill 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. Those supporting S-219 include: victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism, the Hon. Irwin Cotler former Minister of Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada; former Liberal MP David Kilgour, co-chair the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran; the Iran Democratic Association (Canada) representing Iranian Canadians across the country; the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and Iran sanctions experts.
Why is S-219 needed?
- Since its founding in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has never waivered from pursuing its core constitutional mandate to “export” the Revolution across the globe. It is this dictate that has driven Iran to undermine other states and instigate regional conflicts; to torture and murder tens of thousands of its own citizens; to bomb embassies and community centres in foreign countries; to partner with North Korea in the proliferation of WMD; to join the Syria in the slaughter of its own people; and to spend billions of dollars supporting terrorist activity across the globe. For Iran, terrorism is a strategic and ideological imperative formally incorporated into Iran’s budget, permeating and defining the regime’s domestic and foreign policy considerations, and distinguishing it from other totalitarian states.
- Over the last 38 years, the west has offered Iran extraordinary incentives for change, with negligible impact. And despite the new opportunities presented by the Iran nuclear deal, the regime has responded predictably with: increased regional belligerence, human rights violations, and vitriol towards Iran’s minorities; and a $307 million increase to the IRGC-Quds Force (in charge of Iran’s terrorism operations). What Irwin Cotler described as Iran’s ongoing “execution binge”, including juveniles and members of the LBGT community, has only expanded since nuclear sanctions were lifted.
- The only notable policy precedent for limiting the regime’s aggression were the nuclear sanctions that threatened the very existence of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, and resulted in the signing of nuclear deal. S-219 therefore, is a modest and necessary component in balancing Canada's stated concerns with Iranian behaviour and its objective of re-engagement with this regime. S-219 will concretize Canada’s commitment to addressing Tehran’s outrages, rather than relying only on the power of diplomatic rhetoric that however laudable, has never been a lever for meaningful change in the sui generis case of Islamic Republic of Iran.