Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly is set to host a virtual meeting with her counterparts to discuss concerns around women’s rights in Iran that have heightened since the killing of Mahsa Amini.
In a statement Wednesday, Global Affairs Canada said Joly will meet other women foreign ministers on Thursday and hear directly from women of Iranian heritage.
“This week, my counterparts and I will gather to send a clear message: The Iranian regime must end all forms of violence and persecution against the Iranian people, including their brutal aggressions against women in particular,” Joly said in a statement.
It has been more than one month since the death of Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died on Sept. 16 while in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police for reportedly wearing her hijab too loosely.
Her killing has sparked protests across Iran and around the world.
In response, Canada has announced a series of measures against the Iranian regime, sanctioning senior officials, including banning half the membership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from ever entering the country.
Since Oct. 3, Ottawa has imposed sanctions against 42 Iranian individuals and 12 entities, according to the GAC.
“Canada will continue to stand by the courageous Iranians who are fighting for their human rights and standing up for their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters,” Joly said. “Women’s rights are human rights.”
Iranian climber returns after hijab controversy
The demonstrations ignited by Amini’s death have grown into one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution, though the unrest does not appear close to toppling the system.
The nationwide protests have seen women remove and burn their headscarves.
Read more: Elnaz Rekabi, Iranian climber who competed without hijab, greeted by cheering crowds in Tehran
Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi, who caused controversy by competing in an international contest without a headscarf, returned to Iran Wednesday to cheering supporters, reiterating in comments to state media she had climbed without a hijab unintentionally.
Footage had shown Rekabi, 33, scaling a wall without her head covered while competing in South Korea while representing Iran, which has been swept by protests ignited by Mahsa Amini’s death in morality police custody.
In comments to state TV upon her arrival in Tehran, Rekabi said she had returned in “full health” and apologized to “the people of Iran for the turbulence and worry that I created,” her head covered by a baseball cap and a hood as she spoke.
“The struggle that I had with wearing my shoes and preparing my gear made me forget about the proper hijab that I should have had, and I went to the wall and ascended,” she added.
In a statement published on her Instagram account on Tuesday, Rekabi cited poor scheduling as the reason she had competed without a headscarf, saying she had been called to climb unexpectedly.
In her televised comments Rekabi, who came fourth in the competition, denied she had been unreachable for 48 hours, and said the team had returned to Iran as planned. She said she had no plans to quit the national team.
BBC Persian had reported on Tuesday that friends had been unable to contact her, and there were fears for her safety. Iran’s embassy in South Korea, on Twitter, denied reports about her going missing after the competition.
— with files from Reuters
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