Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Canadian Minister’s Visit to Iran Sparks Controversy

Canadian media have recently raised questions about the Canadian-Afghan Minister Maryam Monsef over her visit to Iran back in 2014.

The Liberal MP Maryam Monsef tried to move back to Afghanistan in 2014. Instead she visited Iran where she was encouraged to run for office in Canada.

This is according to a French-language profile in Le Devoir written well before it was revealed Monsef was born in Iran, not Afghanistan as she claims she’s always believed.

According to a report by Toronto Sun, as covered by Asr-e Iran, in the story, Monsef says she couldn’t enter Afghanistan because “it was not safe”. Then once in Iran, she says, she worked with Afghan refugees and was “encouraged to enter politics” in Canada.

This visit to Iran – a country with strict entry and exit rules – raises serious red flags, according to immigration experts and some in the Iranian community.

In 2012, the Harper government severed diplomatic ties with Iran and closed the Iranian embassy in Ottawa. Due to this, travel between Canada and Iran became increasingly difficult.

In 2014, Iran made it even more difficult for Canadians who do not have status in Iran to travel there. Canadian citizens who do not hold Iranian passports were banned from visiting Iran except through state-sanction.

Canadian media quoted sources as saying that it’s very unlikely that the Islamic Republic of Iran would grant a tourist visa to a single woman travelling on a Canadian passport.

Monsef’s office failed to respond to repeated requests from the Toronto Sun on how she was able to obtain a visa, what type of visa she travelled on and where the visa was issued. They did however, state that Monsef “is not, nor was she ever an Iranian citizen.”

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