Canada’s refugee board orders deportation of senior Iranian official

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board has ordered Majid Iranmanesh to be deported because he was a senior member of Iran’s repressive regime.

The Immigration and Refugee Board has ordered the deportation of an Iranian government official who has been living in Canada for the past eight months.

In a decision Friday, the board ruled that Majid Iranmanesh was inadmissible to Canada because he was a senior member of Iran’s repressive regime.

The 54-year-old was director general of Iran’s Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology. He entered Canada using a visa issued in Turkey.

He said he intended to spend a year as a visiting professor at the University of Victoria, but after arriving he was flagged as a senior regime member.

At a hearing on Jan. 11, Iranmanesh denied holding a senior position in the government, and said he wanted to return to Iran as soon as possible.

But the Canada Border Services Agency argued he “continues to be a high valued senior official” in the Iranian government and should be deported.

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IRB Member Mary Heyes agreed, ruling that Iranmanaesh served in the top half of the hierarchy of the regime, and was therefore a senior official.

Click to play video: 'Senior Iranian official found to be living in Toronto'
Senior Iranian official found to be living in Toronto

He is among nine alleged Iranian officials who have turned up in Canada and face deportation proceedings. A 10th individual left the country voluntarily.

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Seyed Salman Samani, Iran’s former deputy interior minister, was scheduled to appear before the refugee board for an inadmissibility hearing on Feb. 8.

But Iranmanesh is the first to face deportation under sanctions adopted in November 2022 that banned senior members of the Iranian regime from Canada.

The sanctions were imposed two months after Iran’s morality police detained and killed Mahsa Amini for showing her hair in public.

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The killing set off worldwide demonstrations against the cleric-run regime that controls Iran, and led to the imposition of new sanctions.

Canada responded by designating the Tehran government a regime engaged in “terrorism and systematic and gross human rights violations.”

The policy effectively barred tens of thousands of Iranian officials and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members from Canada.

Photo from the Iranian government website accompanying a post about Majid Iranmanesh.
Photo from the Iranian government website accompanying a post about Majid Iranmanesh.

The Canada Border Services Agency said 86 such investigations had been launched into possible Iranian officials, partly as a result of tips from the public.

“To date, 10 individuals have been reported inadmissible by the CBSA for being a senior official in the Iranian regime,” the agency added.

Three of the cases have been referred to the IRB for hearings, but one of the individuals left the country before the proceedings began.

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“So far, 40 investigations were closed by the CBSA for individuals who were either out of the country or deemed not inadmissible to Canada.”

In addition, 82 visas were cancelled by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The figures are as of Jan. 8, 2024.

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