Iranians gather to show their sympathy to the victims of the crash of the Boeing 737-800 plane, flight PS 752, in Tehran, Iran January 11, 2020. Wana News Agency / VIA REUTERS
For the past few days regular people have taken to the streets of cities throughout Iran to protest the downing of the Ukrainian airlines passenger plane by their own government.
They are calling for justice and accountability. But not just because of this one tragic incident that saw dozens of Iranian citizens killed along with the 57 Canadian citizens our own nation has been mourning.
Canada and Iran are the two largest countries represented by the crash. We are, together, the ones who have sadly lost the most number of citizens in what Iran is now admitting – after days of lying – that their military downed in a missile strike.
The people are taking to the streets though not just to protest this crash. They’re denouncing the whole regime – President Rouhani, Ayatollah Khamanei and the whole rotten system of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
That’s because the downing of the plane was far from the first thing the regime has done that’s seen Iranians killed on their own soil by their own govern Let’s face the facts. The Iranian regime is a murderous and duplicitous group of zealots that will do whatever they have to do to stay in power.
These are far from the first street protests in that country. They happen periodically, recurring yearly. Throughout most of 2019 there were protests against the regime, with people calling for democracy, women’s rights, human rights and the many other liberties the people are denied.
In November, Khamenei was so incensed by pro-democracy activists that he told the top leadership in the government to do whatever was necessary to crush the protests. They did, killing 1,500 people.
On Sunday, Iran’s only female Olympic champion, taekwondo bronze medallist Kimia Alizadeh, defected.
She said she was tired of Iran’s “hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery” and said she is just “one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done a good job telling Iran they must answer for the plane crash and more must be done. It’s also time for him – and all Canadians – to stand up for the people of Iran who believe better is possible.
This is a country on the cusp of change and now is our chance to be on the right side of history.