Senior Iranian official arrested in Toronto

Canada has launched deportation proceedings against a senior Iranian government official found living in Toronto, Global News has learned.

Seyed Salman Samani, 42, faces a deportation hearing under sanctions imposed a year ago against members of Iran’s extremist regime.

The Canada Border Services Agency has asked the Immigration and Refugee Board to hold a hearing for Samani that could result in his removal.

“Samani was referred for an admissibility hearing on November 10, 2023,” said Anna Pape, spokesperson for the Refugee Board.

The Canadian government has refused to say whether the case concerns Seyed Salman Samani, 42, Iran’s deputy interior minister.

Iranians clash with police during a protest for Mahsa Amini, September 22, 2022. Photo by SalamPix/ABACAPRESS.COM

Iranians clash with police during a protest for Mahsa Amini, September 22, 2022. Photo by SalamPix/ABACAPRESS.COM.

The procedure was to begin on January 3, 2024.

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He is being expelled under sanctions introduced in November 2022 that ban senior Iranian regime officials from entering Canada.

The Samani case is the first to face sanctions, introduced after Iranian morality police killed Mahsa Amini for showing her hair in public.

Her death became a rallying cry against the repression of women under the regime of the Iranian mullahs.

Canada responded by designating the Iranian government as a regime engaged in “terrorism and systematic and flagrant human rights violations.”

This policy has effectively prevented tens of thousands of Iranian officials and members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from entering Canada.

Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Seyed Salman Samani.

Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Seyed Salman Samani.

The Refugee Board said the Iranian immigration enforcement officers referred for inadmissibility hearings were born on Jan. 16, 1981.

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No further information has been released about him. The CBSA declined to comment on his case, citing privacy laws.

An Iranian official was named Iran’s deputy interior minister in 2016. Iranian websites reported that he was born on January 16, 1981.

The Interior Ministry is responsible for Iran’s internal security and police services, which are implicated in numerous human rights violations.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi is a former general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and has been sanctioned by Canada, the United States and Europe.

The US Treasury claimed that Vahidi was responsible for deploying police “to quell protests in Iran, including ongoing demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini.”

“In the past, Vahidi has warned Iranian women that government security forces will penalize those who “break the rules” when it comes to respecting the hijab.

Iranian protesters confront police during a demonstration for Mahsa Amini, September 19, 2022. Photo by SalamPix/ABACAPRESS.COM.

According to Samani’s profile published on the Interior Ministry website, he is the deputy minister and official spokesperson for the department.

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In 2019, he represented Iran at the United Nations, part of a delegation that defended Tehran’s human rights record.

The delegation called Iran “one of the main victims of terrorism and at the same time one of its staunchest opponents.”

Iran trains, finances and weapons terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as armed militias in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei paid tribute to the Hamas assassins who massacred Israelis on October 7, writing on X: “We are proud of them.”

Hamas terrorist group leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks in front of portraits of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, February 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi).

Kaveh Shahrooz, a Toronto lawyer and senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, said deep ties to the Iranian regime were necessary to become a deputy minister.

“It’s impossible to climb the ranks like this without being loyal to the system,” Shahrooz said, adding that Canada was a refuge for members of the regime.

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“They consider it an easy country to enter, bring and launder their money here. And frankly, I think it’s also because our leaders aren’t taking this issue as seriously as they should.

He said he was exasperated, but not surprised that a senior Iranian official had been identified in Canada. “That tells me there is a broken system in place in Canada.”

Canada’s ban on senior Iranian regime officials applies to “a broad range of individuals from a regime that has perpetrated crimes against the Iranian people and other countries,” the government said.

“This includes: heads of state, members of the Cabinet, ambassadors, senior diplomats, members of the judiciary, senior military and intelligence officials and senior civil servants. »

The CBSA told Global News it is launching deportation proceedings against nine Iranian officials as part of sanctions imposed a year ago.

One file was withdrawn because the person left Canada, the CBSA said, and two others were in the hearing planning stage.

Documents for the remaining cases were still being prepared before being sent to the IRB, the immigration enforcement agency said.

The Rally for Freedom for Iran, in support of Mahsa Amini, in Toronto, October 1, 2022. CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan.

“The CBSA cannot comment on where an individual may reside, but we can say that they are only requesting admissibility inquiries for individuals currently in Canada,” the spokesperson said. words Guillaume Bérubé.

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Meanwhile, the Refugee Commission, which holds hearings to decide whether to approve expulsions, confirmed it was handling two such cases.

In both cases, Iranian nationals were expelled from Canada under sanctions imposed a year ago. The IRB did not provide details on the second case.

“A second referral has just been received and the Division of Immigration is in the process of determining what information can be shared,” Pape said.

Click to play video:

Canada bans more Iranian officials for ‘terrorism’ and human rights abuses

Canada severed diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012 over its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and support terrorist groups such as Hamas.

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The government has also designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, and the IRGC’s Quds Force is on Canada’s list of terrorist entities.

During the election campaign that brought him to power in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to restore diplomatic relations with Iran.

But in 2020, the IRGC shot down a passenger plane departing from Tehran airport, killing 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

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