Friday, April 01, 2005


The Conservative and New Democratic parties joined forces yesterday to demand Ottawa dramatically ratchet up diplomatic pressure on Iran after revelations that Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was brutally raped and tortured while in Iranian custody in 2003.

"We want the government to do what they should have done almost two years ago, which is to drop the failed approach of soft-peddling and soft diplomacy, and make tough demands," Tory foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day said.

Both Mr. Day and his NDP counterpart, Alexa McDonough, said Canada should withdraw its ambassador to Iran if Ottawa doesn't immediately get satisfaction from Tehran on key issues, such as the return of Ms. Kazemi's remains to her family in Canada and a new criminal investigation subject to international monitors.

At a press conference in Toronto yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew brushed aside the calls for a new approach, saying Canada is already doing all it can to seek justice for Ms. Kazemi.


Mr. Pettigrew said the new testimony in the Kazemi case, which comes from the emergency-room physician who examined her before she died, "certainly demonstrates gruesome details that make it extremely troubling, most disturbing. But it does not change the nature of the dossier."


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