Iran Readings from the World Wide Web

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May 22, 2013

The Harper Government has adopted a policy of non-engagement with various regimes bearing poor human rights records, including Iran. The Globe and Mail looks at Canada’s recent decision to sit out the Iran-led round of Conference of Disarmament nuclear nonproliferation talks, set to take place this month. Various scholars weigh in on the boycott.

The Munk Centre recently hosted Foreign Minister John Baird at the Global Dialogue conference, which launched a new DFAIT-backed initiative to engage members of Iranian civil society on the ground and in the diaspora. After the closure of Canada’s embassy in Teheran last year, few formal diplomatic ties remain between the two governments. Baird took the opportunity to speak directly to the Iranian populace, urging them to reach out using social media in defiance of the “clerical military dictatorship.” The National Post reports on the forum’s objectives.

With old faces like Rajsanjani and Qalibaf now seeking to join the Iranian presidential race, the lineup for the upcoming election is drawing additional attention from analysts. TheGlobe and Mail’s Shenaz Kermalli assesses the possibility of populist backlash and the potential for revival of the Green Movement when Iranians head to the polls next month.

Karim Sadjadpour from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace talks to Foreign Policy about domestic factors that may influence the Iranian election—corruption, perceived efforts at reform, and the blowback from the state’s ambitious nuclear program will all have an impact during this electoral season.

Michael Petrou, writing for Macleans, provides some background on the turmoil the Islamic Republic has faced since crushing anti-government protests after the last election. He urges policymakers to shift focus from the nuclear issue and examine the deeply rooted social issues that a strong civil society is seeking to draw greater attention to in the debate over Iran’s future.