Majid Jowhari: Liberal MP or Iranian Asset?

Opinion

Jan 6 .Written By Daniel Bordman

With tensions between the U.S. and Iran ramping up after the drone strike of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, Canada is about to face some tough scrutiny internally and externally hereon. Perhaps the biggest issue facing Trudeau’s government regards Liberal MP Majid Jowhari.

Jowhari was in the news a few weeks ago when a broadcast on the Iran-e-Farda network named him as an asset of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC). The accusation was made by Alireza Sassani, a journalist and friend of Masoud Molavi, an Iranian intelligence officer who defected and was subsequently assassinated in Turkey. 

While the accusation does not prove any guilt, Majid Jowhari has openly denied these allegations. Nevertheless, these should be taken seriously, because even if you might not find Masoud Molavi to be a credible source, American Defence Secretary Mike Pompeo does. 

It is also worth noting this was brought up on a Persian language outlet broadcast out of the UK, so it had no connection to Canadian politics, which should eliminate Jowhari’s potential “they have a political grudge against me” defence. 

Given the current political climate, the fact that a Canadian MP has been named as an asset of the IRGC, who receives money and support from the organization that the Canadian parliament voted to list (but has yet to do) as a terrorist organization, needs a thorough assessment of his political career. This is not the first time or even the second that Jowhari’s associations have been called into question. 

Here is a photo of Jowhari (on the left) with his close associate Reza Hosseini-Nassab (right). The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) alleges that Hosseini-Nassab runs an organization that’s goal is to “promote Iran’s ideology in Canada.” Nassab’s son works in Majid Jowhari’s constituency office. 

Jowhari also came under fire for the bizarre and unprecedented meeting he hosted between three Iranian MPs and then Foreign Minister Stephan Dion. 

Since this occurred under a diplomatic standoff, it was not listed as an official meeting, which was not a good look for Jowhari.

Jowhari wants to re-establish relations with the Islamic Republic under no preconditions

Majid Jowhari also sponsored a petition to re-establish relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran under no preconditions. It should be noted that the Islamic Republic openly calls for the destruction of two of Canada’s allies, the U.S. and Israel, executes gay people for the “crime” of homosexuality and sponsors multiple groups our government labels as terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. It would be fair to say that Jowhari does not see any of this as a major concern and has also never publicly spoken out about any of these issues. 

It is not only reporters and security experts who are concerned about Majid Jowhari’s links to the Islamic Republic, but prominent figures in the Iranian-Canadian community as well. Few people are as respected within the community as form Liberal MPP and cabinet member, Dr. Reza Moridi.  It caused a major stir within Richmond hill when Moridi and other former Liberals sent out an email asking people not to vote for Liberal Majid Jowhari, but the Conservatives as well.

The email was not made public, but many speculated that Jowhari’s close ties to the Regime and IRGC were their primary concern.

Reza Moridi is not the only Iranian Canadian that has their concerns about Jowhari. I spoke with Avideh Motmaenfar, the president of the Council of Iranian Canadians (CIC), and here is what she said of Majid Jowhari:

“Jowhari’s demeanour has led me to think that he is acting in favour of the criminal regime of the Islamic Republic. I particularly remember the time when he tweeted a favourable stance toward the Islamic Republic of Iran, against the rights of protestors, while the regime was killing people brutally in the streets, calling the Islamic republic’s government an “elected” government. And actually, his first official act as an MP at the House of Commons was to sponsor the Petition E-553 which benefits and is in the interest of a foreign government, the Islamic Republic of Iran, a nation which is internationally sanctioned and is known as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

Avideh was not the only one outraged about Jowhari’s claim that the people of Iran should support its “elected government.” This point was also brought up by Salman Sima, a former political prisoner in Iran who survived six months of torture and imprisonment in the regimes infamous Evin prison. This is the same prison, mind you, where the regime murdered Canadian Journalist Zahra Kazemi.

Salman was not just in any prison, but inward 2A of Evin prison, which is under the command of the IRGC, and he was sentenced by the notorious judge Salavati, who is personally named in U.S. sanctions. 

This means Salman was a prisoner and tortured under Qassem Soleimani, so he was one of the Iranians that was ecstatic with the death of the terrorist mastermind. 

Jowhari has never brought up the human rights concerns of Iranian-Canadians towards the Islamic Republic

When people marched in Toronto to claim Soleimani was a “hero of Islam,” this enraged Salman who himself is a practicing Muslim that has gone on hunger strikes against injustice. “To call a man who butchered tens of thousands of Muslims a hero of Islam, that is a disgrace to Muslims,” claims Salman. 

Salman reiterated Avideh’s claim over Jowhari’s “elected” government, to which Salman calls the elections “selections”, and added that Canadian security organizations should investigate Jowhari’s connections. To explain, Iran has a very complicated fake democracy set up. 

The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini has absolute power in the system, but there are some “elections.” However, the key is that in the Islamic Republic, before anyone gets their name on any ballet, they must be cleared by the Guardian Council. The Guardian Council is 12 people, six appointed by the supreme leader and six appointed by the head of the judiciary (who the supreme leader appoints himself). 

Majid Jowhari should know this. For him to obfuscate this issue, this way says one of two things about Jowhari. He is either incredibly ignorant on a subject he spends a lot of time on, or he is lying in the interest of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

Over Jowhari’s political career, he has never brought up the human rights concerns of Iranian-Canadians and their family hurt by the totalitarian regime in Tehran. 

For example, Sima Tajdini, a former board member of the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC), pointed out that Jowhari has never attended the yearly memorial for the victims of the 1988 Khavaran massacre. Sima was even been blocked from Jowhari’s social media for bringing up the question. This is reasonable, especially considering it is held in Richmondhill, where Jowhari is an MP.

In 1988, the Islamic Republic used the cover of the Iran-Iraq war to murder tens of thousands of dissidents, Sima Tajdini’s uncle being one of them. This was a significant event for Iranians and continues to be an open wound in the community. All Iranian politicians in Canada have paid their respects to the victims, except one, Majid Jowhari.

What this means for Canada 

With the current climate between the U.S and Iran, the question of what to do about Majid Jowhari needs to be front and centre in Canadian politics. The Islamic Republic loves to use proxies as a means of infiltrating foreign regimes, which security experts have already outlined as a threat to Canada. Some even say Canada is being used as a base to infiltrate the U.S.  

If I am aware of Jowhari’s problems, and now you are aware of them, you better believe American Intelligence is.

With Majid Jowhari in our parliament and the U.S. and Islamic Republic in conflict, the question needs to be asked: Can the Americans trust us? Or will Majid Jowhari undermine a friendship that has benefited both sides for over 100 years?  

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