Nowrouz, which literally means "new day", is rooted in Iranian history and is today celebrated across the world. It is the day during which the sun crosses over the equator, happily in the direction of us northern peoples.
Last June, after the massively-rigged election, and on a number of occasions since, democratic thrusts by many Iranians touched Canadians and others around the world watching television. Many who had felt there was no hope for a democratic change from within were caught by surprise when we saw Iranians in their millions coming into the streets to demand dignity for all.
On the other hand, last year also saw increased pressure on about 3400 Ashraf residents, including about 22 Canadian citizens among them. There were the tragic days of July 28 and 29, when Iraqi police killed eleven unarmed Ashraf residents and wounded many others. It remains a reminder of dangers that still exist today.
Let me use this occasion to wish all Iranians, both in-country and in the diaspora, especially those at Ashraf, a better new year.
I hope a brighter day will come for Iran soon, which will end the need to add on festive occasions what I`m about to say. On March 10th in Berlin, Maryam Rajavi, head of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, said the regime in Tehran was the biggest threat to global peace. She warned once again against any invasion of Iran, but added, "President (Barack) Obama and leaders in Europe should make their judgments based on this past year's experience and no longer call for negotiations with this regime...For years, the United States and Europe have tried to go this way without getting anything in return. The appeasement course has only given the Mullah regime time to get closer to the nuclear bomb."
Let us be mindful today as well of the more than 60 journalists still in Iranian jails, of public executions, of stonings to death, of child executions, of rapes, murders and tortures by officials in Iran. Each of us and the government of Canada must do our utmost to ensure that the present regime in Tehran is not elected to the UN Human Rights Council at the UN General Assembly on May 13th. Until the rule of law is restored to the land of Cyrus the Great, such an election would be appalling.