Growing tension between Iran and Canada over death of photojournalist
Canada hinted sanctions on Iran are a possibility and recalled its ambassador from Iran following a dispute over the killing of a Montreal photojournalist from an Iranian origin.
Disappointed by fact that Canadian observers will not be allowed to attend the trial of a man accused of killing Zahra Kazemi, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham announced the move on Wednesday. He also hinted economic and legal sanctions were an option.
When asked for his comment, Iran's ambassador to Canada said he believes it will do little good. "I think this is not a helpful approach to move constructively in a mutual interest on the trial of Ms. Kazemi and our bilateral relations," Mohammad ali Mousavi told CTV's Canada AM in an interview Thursday morning.
As a sovereign state, Mousavi said Tehran was not obligated to allow foreign observers at criminal proceedings. "Then based on Iran's rule, it has become within the jurisdiction and decision of the independent judge," Mousavi said, urging Canadians to respect the Iranian judicial system.
"I think transparency of the court should not be only evaluated based on accepting foreign observers or not," he told CTV.
"I think we should wait until the court starts its sessions before to take any decision or any reaction to it."
Kazemi family will be represented by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi when the trial opens Saturday.
Kazemi, 54, was detained last year by Iranian authorities after taking pictures outside a prison. She fell into a coma while in custody and died a few weeks later.
Iran's judiciary initially declared the photojournalist died of a stroke. But a presidentially-appointed committee indicated she had in fact died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage. The wounds, it said, came from a blow to her head.
An Iranian intelligence agent has been charged with "semi-intentional murder" of Kazemi. (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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