Former Canadian prime ministers Stephen Harper and Kim Campbell are among more than 100 world leaders who’ve signed a letter calling for democratic reform in Iran and efforts to hold “regime officials accountable.”
The letter, sent to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden, and European Council President Charles Michel, was signed by 109 former heads of government and state, including former British prime minister Liz Truss and former American vice-president Mike Pence.
“We believe it is time to hold the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran to account for its crimes,” the letter says.
“We encourage you to stand in solidarity with the people of Iran in their desire for a secular and democratic republic where no individual, regardless of religion or birthright, has any privilege over others. Through their slogans, the Iranian people have made it clear that they reject all forms of dictatorship, be it that of the deposed Shah or the current theocratic regime, and thus reject any association with either.”
The open letter backs a 10-point plan promoted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran and its president, Maryam Rajavi. The plan calls for free elections, freedom of expression, gender equality, secularization, and a non-nuclear Iran.
The letter also asks world leaders to “take decisive steps against the current regime.”
“This includes blacklisting the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and holding regime officials accountable for their crimes against humanity.”
The IRGC is a designated terrorist group in the United States, but the Trudeau government has resisted calls to classify it as such in Canada.
The IRGC, created by Ayatollah Khomenei after Iran’s 1979 revolution, has orchestrated numerous terror attacks around the world and offers support to terror organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah.
Trudeau has rejected calls to designate the IRGC as a terror group but has placed sanctions on some of its leaders as recently as last October.
Harper’s government listed the IRGC’s Quds force as a terror group in 2012.
The letter references recent crackdowns by the Iranian regime on pro-democracy protesters. Some reports indicate as many as 750 protesters have been killed and 30,000 arrested since September.
The letter makes clear that it’s the Iranian people who are seeking reform first and foremost.
“While any change should come from the people of Iran, the international community has a responsibility to support their human rights,” it says.
Since leaving office in 2015, Harper has frequently spoken out against the Iranian regime, explicitly calling for regime change in 2020.