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Quebec Solidaire MNA unrepentant after Khomeini comment

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei waves to members of the paramilitary Basij force at the Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei waves to members of the paramilitary Basij force at the Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran. Handout/Iranian supreme leader's office

MONTREAL – Quebec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir has come under fire from the Parti Quebecois for his controversial comments comparing Quebec to Iran.

The PQ are saying that Khadir compared the newly announced candidate Pierre Karl Péladeau to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, and are looking for an apology.

“The Parti Quebecois requests that he publicly apologize for his incendiary, untruthful and irresponsible statements.”

Khomeini was a religious and political leader in Iran who made the country the world’s first Islamic republic in 1979.

He was also responsible for issuing a fatwa on the British writer Salman Rushdie for his novel The Satanic Verses.

What did Khadir actually say?
Khadir, who is an MNA for the Mercier riding in Montreal, made the comment during an interview on Radio-Canada’s program 
Le 15-18 on Tuesday, where he cautioned against supporting neo-liberal policies.

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“Independence may be promised, but what is waiting for you is austerity. Neo-liberal policies are growing, with consequences on people’s lives,” he said. 

“It’s been 35 years since the independence of Iran by the Americans, where thousands of people, from the left to the right, supported Khomeini.

“Look at the results today. History has shown that we have lost our soul, our purpose.”

Khadir then went on to suggest that if an alliance was to be made to support a sovereign Quebec, it should be made with the left, in the same way that René Lévesque did.

Reaction from both parties
On Wednesday, the PQ called on Quebec Solidaire co-spokesperson Françoise David to disassociate herself from Khadir and to call him to order. 

“With his words, Amir Khadir discredits himself and his party,” the PQ noted.

However, in a statement released on Wednesday, Khadir seemed unrepentant.

“I made an analogy between my personal experience and what we’re experiencing in Quebec,” he said.

“To build a country where workers’ rights will not be ignored, progressives must maintain their power in the sovereignty movement. The PQ now leans to the right. This is deplorable.”

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