MP Laverdière Rejected Shahram Tabe Mohammadi's Accusations in Shahrvand
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
The Persian weekly paper Shahrvand published a report in its last issue on Nov 29, 2018 written by Shahram Tabe Mohammadi about his meeting with the NDP Foreign Affairs Critic MP Hélène Laverdière. In his report Tabe Mohammadi outlined a long list of accusations against the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) and activists in the Iranian-Canadian community who oppose sanctions on Iran and have advocated for reopening of the embassies in Ottawa and Tehran. He said in his report that during his meeting with MP Laverdière he discussed the list of accusations with her and requested her to change NDP's policy related to Iran and support sanctions and isolation of the country.
A day after Tabe Mohammadi's report was published in Shahrvand the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) published a statement from MP Laverdière in response to this report. In this statement NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Hélène Laverdière condemned the report by Shahram Tabe Mohammadi and said:
I want to strongly reassure the board and members of the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) that the opinions expressed in this article in no way reflect my views, or the views of the NDP. My colleagues and I absolutely wish to continue our work with the ICC.
Based on the statement from MP Laverdière the meeting was not scheduled by Tabe Mohammadi directly. A constituent living in her riding scheduled the meeting. Tabe Mohammadi in his report thanked Nima Machouf for arranging the meeting. Nima Machouf is the wife of the former MNA Amir Khadir. Amir Khadir was a representative for the radical separatist party Quebec Solidaire.
Furthermore, according to multiple reports Khadir and his family had close ties with Mujahedin-e-Khalq (or the People's Mujahedin of Iran). In an interview Khadir said he was very involved with Mujahedin till mid-1980s. The United States in 1997, the European Union in 2002, and Canada in 2005 designated MEK a terrorist organization. MEK was designated in Canada as a terrorist organization as recently as 2012.
In 2012, Khadir's daughter was the subject of a police raid and criminal investigation. The investigation was covered extensively in the media and became a source of controversy for Amir Khadir's political career. His daughter Yalda was arrested during the 2012 student protests in Quebec. According to Toronto Sun Yalda Machouf-Khadir was arrested for "subway smoke bombings and other violence during the student strike". Khadir's daughter later in court pleaded guilty to a series of charges related to the protests and was sentenced to three years of probation and 240 hours of community service.
Tabe Mohammadi is a regular contributor to Shahrvand magazine. In his reports and articles he regularly attacks activists and organizations that support peace and diplomacy with Iran. Tabe Mohammadi wrote an article in Shahrvand in support of the proposed non-nuclear sanctions against Iran that was defeated in the Canadian Senate with the advocacy of the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) back in May 2018.
Tabe Mohammadi's articles regularly include extreme Islamophobic comments. In an article he wrote before the last provincial election in Ontario he said that if the NDP candidate in Willowdale is elected, the subject of "implementing Sharia Law in Ontario will be once again brought up in the Ontario legislature".
Shahram Tabe Mohammadi's conflict with the current executives of the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) is not limited to difference of opinion on Canada's Iran policy. According to multiple sources familiar with the details Tabe Mohammadi has been planning to take over the control of the ICC during the past several year and every time his attempts have failed. In 2015, Tabe Mohammadi's close friend Arsalan Kahnemouyipour was elected as the president of the ICC. During the short period that Kahnemouyipour was leading the organization Tabe Mohammadi tried to change the bylaws of the organization to advance his own agenda. However, he faced resistance from the members of the organization and other executives. Shortly after Kahnemouyipour resigned his position as well.
Again in spring of 2018 Tabe Mohammadi rallied 4 candidates to run for vacant positions on ICC executive board and took the role of their campaign manager. Tabe Mohammadi and his candidates launched a coordinated propaganda campaign against their opponents. In April 2018 in another Islamophobic article in Shahrvand, Tabe Mohammadi tried to portray his opponents as individuals "with religious views who will try to bring the idea of religious police to Toronto to make sure women wear Hijab". All this was nonsense though as Tabe Mohammadi's opponents were young Iranian-Canadians raised in Toronto, all of them educated in top Canadian universities. He was accusing them for the benefit of his candidates and because Tabe Mohammadi's young opponents were supporters of peace and diplomacy with Iran. Tabe Mohammadi's fear mongering failed again and members of the ICC chose a different path. The highest vote Tabe Mohammadi's candidates received was 66 from a total of over 1000 members of the ICC.
From the statement published by the NDP Foreign Affairs Critic MP Hélène Laverdière it is clear that Shahram Tabe-Mohammadi failed to convince her to change Canada's New Democrats policy on Iran. Even in his report Tabe Mohammadi said that MP Laverdière emphasized that the NDP supports the nuclear agreement with Iran (JCPOA). In her statement MP Hélène Laverdière also reaffirms NDP's position on Canada-Iran relations:
We will continue to push the Canadian government to restore diplomatic relations with Iran, in order to provide a foundation for encouraging reforms and the finding of political solutions to address disagreements between our countries.
Tabe Mohamadi on IC Journal
In his report Shahram Tabe Mohammadi also mentioned his dissatisfaction with the Iranian Canadian Journal (IC Journal). He questioned our claim that the IC Journal is run by a group of volunteers and said that "the high quality graphics used by this website prove their connection to Iranian government".
First, we are glad that our graphics have been appealing to Tabe Mohammadi and others. Second, IC Journal is 100% the work of Iranian-Canadian volunteers in Toronto. IC Journal has absolutely no connection with any government. Our costs are kept at minimum and these small costs are donated by the same group of volunteers. Our mission at the IC Journal is to provide a platform for progressive voices in the Iranian-Canadian community. We want to have the freedom to express our critical views and challenge the status quo.
For so long in the Iranian-Canadian community few individuals such as Shahram Tabe Mohammadi, Shahrvand and their associates have misrepresented the views of our community. For so long these individuals pushed for an anti-Iran narrative contributing to the growing discrimination and Iranophobia our community members experience on a daily basis. It is 2018 but in Canada today there are companies that refuse to even accept resumes of Iranian nationals. Iranians experience discrimination on a daily basis due to policies that Tabe Mohammadi and the pro-sanctions lobby promote against Iran and Iranians. While our community faces significant challenges, Tabe Mohammadi and his associates are still concerned about the free graphic software we have used to express our views in a free country!
The objective of IC Journal is to raise awareness about political activities that affect the lives of Iranians in general and Iranian-Canadians in particular. We welcome any comments or response from individuals we mention in our reports. In our articles we rely on publicly available and credible information and we have included references used.