Canada presses Iran for an international investigation into Kazemi death

April 6, 2005

Canada pulled out of a trade conference[1] with the Iranian Government after discussions surrounding the alleged torture and death of photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi fell through. The move comes after accusations by Canada that a Canadian journalist, Kazemi, was savagely attacked in Iran. The allegation was denied by Iran's Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharazi on Tuesday. Canadian ministers have since responded by calling for an international forensic investigation into the Kazemi case.

"We will continue to put pressure on Iran," Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said yesterday. "This is something on which we will not give up. We know that in Iran it is lies, it is coverups that are being presented to us."

The allegations stem from Iranian born Doctor Shahram Azam, who fled to Canada and revealed last week how he examined Kazemi in June 2003, following her arrest in Iran. Azam told reporters that Kazemi was brought to him by Iranian authorities with severe injuries that were said to have been inflicted whilst in custody. Kharazi dismissed Azam's claims, adding that he has never worked at the hospital in which he claims he treated Kazemi.