Sunday, June 19, 2005

Canada condemns in advance Iran vote result

Canadian foreign minister Pierre Pettigrew late Friday condemned ahead of time the result of Iran's presidential election, saying that "true democratic choice has been stifled by a process that gives too much authority to a non-elected system," according to AFP. READ MORE

Citing some 1,000 candidates that started out in Iran's campaign process, Pettigrew noted that all women who had sought candidacy were "shut out."

The move brought to mind the 2004 elections at the Majlis -- the legislative assembly -- when a third of candidates were rejected, including some lawmakers, he said.

"Canada and the international community have expressed longstanding, very serious concerns about freedom of expression in Iran" and Iran's election process, Pettigrew said.

"Even a relatively clean voting day cannot rescue a flawed process," he said.

Relations between Ottawa and Tehran are at a low ebb following the death of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who died in a Tehran hospital in July 2003 due to head injuries received while in detention.