Official Statement from Canadian Embassy

Filed Under: Life

I had planned this to be a post about Tucker and the amazing father that he is but if you look at my Twitter stream then you are well aware of the fact that I have become extremely interested in what’s happening in Iran/Tehran.

Iran has interested me since I came to know a classmate in high school who was from Tehran. She was probably one of the most brilliant people I have ever known and looking back, I wish now that she and I had more in-depth conversations about her homeland.

Last night, there were numerous tweets about foreign embassies accepting injured Iranian protesters and how protesters should not go to public hospitals since the Basij were rumored to be seeking out injured at hospitals.

There was A LOT of crap going back and forth about whether or not the Canadian Embassy was accepting injured Iranians and what was really pissing me off was that people were RT [retweeting] information that they hadn’t checked out themselves. It seemed that everyone was jumping on the RT bandwagon and picking things that were the most inflammatory and they didn’t care if what they were sending out on Twitter was true or not.

I received a reply from someone saying that they had personally contacted Ottawa emergency embassy line and that they had been informed that the embassy would be open and accepting the injured. When I tweeted that, I got several replies asking me to confirm. Well, truth be told, I couldn’t confirm since I wasn’t the first source. So, I brought my cell phone to bed with me and contacted the Ottawa emergency line myself. [Sorry, Tucker. I’ll pay the international charges.]

The guy I spoke with was VERY nice and helpful and assured me that the Embassy would be open tomorrow [today] but that they would only accept Canadian citizens. He then took down my information and said that he would put me in contact with their Media Affairs liaison. Gotta love working for “the press”.

Almost instantly, I received an email from Simone MacAndrew asking me what questions I had pertaining to Iran.

I asked her to confirm if the Canadian Embassy was accepting just Canadian injured or if the Canadian Embassy was accepting ALL injured protesters.

That all was last night.

I felt like an ass for leaving everyone without a definitive answer but I couldn’t do anything else until I had a confirmation/denial from Simone.

The official statement came just a few minutes ago:

Reports on Saturday that the Canadian Embassy in Iran was turning away people seeking sanctuary are false. The Embassy was closed Saturday and there were no Canadians at the Embassy when the protests began. Reports that we were providing shelter to Iranian demonstrators are also false.

Canada’s Embassy is located in the centre of recent demonstrations. Due to the tense security in Tehran this week, the embassy has been closing early so that staff can return home safely before the public and democratic demonstrations begin.

Canada continues to call for the protection of civilians and their rights. As the Prime Minister recently stated, “We encourage those authorities to respect people’s basic human rights and to move forward on democratic progress in that country.”

Canada does not offer asylum to individuals in its embassies abroad. However, in exceptional cases where an individual is in the embassy and seeks temporary refuge because of an immediate threat of injury or death, temporary safe haven has, in some instances and for humanitarian reasons, been provided.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, including the Canadian Embassy in Tehran, continues to provide consular assistance to Canadian citizens in-person, on the phone and through email. In case of emergency consular assistance, Canadians should contact the Embassy of Canada in Tehran at 98 (21) 8152-0000 or DFAIT’s Emergency Operations Centre by calling collect to 613-996-8885 or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

Also included was a link to department’s website made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

To sum it up, I read that as meaning that asylum will only be given in the most dire of circumstances. From the bottom of my heart, I wish that I had more information to pass along to you all.

Please keep the people of Iran in your hearts and thoughts and do everything that you can to let them know that you stand behind them.