Iranian-Canadians going to US to vote

IRNA – An Iranian-Canadian academic from Concordia University, Montreal, said that many Iranian-Canadians are going to the US to vote in the Iranian presidential election due to lack of diplomatic relations between Tehran and Ottawa.

Criticizing the fact that Iranians residing in Canada cannot take part in Iran’s presidential election in Canada because the Iranian embassy in Ottawa was closed down some years ago, Reza Namdari told IRNA that efforts made by two Iranian-Canadian MPs to normalize relations between the two capitals have failed.

He added that lack of diplomatic ties between the two countries has deprived the Iranians residing in Canada of casting their votes in the presidential elections.

“The Iranian-Canadians gathered in Toronto University simultaneously with the May 19 presidential election in their motherland, to sign a petition in which they called for the resumption of diplomatic ties with Iran,’ Namdari said.

The document, he added, ‘can help us to have a meeting with the [Canadian] minister of foreign affairs in order to remove obstacles on the way of normalizing bilateral ties between the two countries.”

He stressed that reopening of Iran’s embassy in Canada was one of the major concerns of the Iranian-Canadians in recent years.

Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Ottawa which had severed during tenures of the past governments in the two countries, escalated in the past years so that in 2012 Canada closed the Iranian embassy in that country in an unilateral move.

As of September 2012, there are no formal diplomatic relations between the two capitals and Canadian consular and passport services are provided through other Canadian diplomatic missions in other countries in the Middle East while Iran maintains an interests section at the Embassy of Oman in Washington D.C.

Based on the Canadian laws, casting votes for a country should be held at its diplomatic centers in Canada. Since Iran has no diplomatic center in that country, it was impossible for the Iranians residing in Canada to cast their votes in Iran’s May 19 presidential elections.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has recently made efforts to remove obstacles in the way of the Iranians partake in the elections including a phone conversation with his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland during which no major achievement has been made.

A Canadian delegation also visited Iran earlier in May to discuss holding presidential elections for Iranians in Canada. But the visit led to no positive outcome.

The Iranian election is being held in Iran and 102 countries on Friday.

More than 56 million Iranians are eligible to vote in the elections.