Friday, January 21, 2011

Canada: Canada in Diplomatic Row with Iran, Vows to Screen Documentary Iranium

Canadian Minister of Heritage James Moore has vowed that a screening of the documentary film Iranium will soon take place at the National Archives following the cancelation of the film's showing earlier this week. The Iranian embassy was behind requests to cancel the event on Tuesday.

The National Archives buckled to pressure and canceled the event as threats of protest grew. The building was ultimately shutdown when two suspicious packages were found.

In response, the Canadian government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent a diplomatic note to Iran following the incident reiterating that Canada is a free country and that freedom of expression is a core value that will not be compromised.

National news outlets in Canada have reported that the incident may further strain already tense relations between Canada and Iran.

Canadian ministers were furious over the cancelation, seen by many as bowing into diplomatic pressure from Iran and restricting Canadians' rights to freedom of speech. Mr. Moore made strong statements condemning the cancelation of the event, and insisted that a screening would in fact take place in the federal building.

"Canada does not accept attempts from the Iranian Embassy to dictate what films will, and will not be shown in Canada," said Mr. Moore.

"The agreement will be kept and this movie Iranium will be shown at Library and Archives Canada. We will not be moving it to a different facility, we're not bending to any pressure.

"People need to be kept safe, but we don't back down to people who try to censor people by threats of violence," Mr. Moore added.

Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney called the cancelation "outrageous."

"The response to the cancelation by senior members of Canada's government, in particular Minister James Moore, has been extremely refreshing," said Alex Traiman, Director of Iranium.

"It has been a principle of the Iranian government to stifle free speech inside Iran. I am glad that the regime will not get away with attempts to do the same in North America.

"Canada is standing up and defending its values against Iranian tyranny," Traiman added.

The film documents the statements and actions of Iranian leaders since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, including the buildup of Iran's nuclear program through the Presidential Elections of 2009.

An exclusive clip of the film can be viewed at

The National Archives event was to be the first major screening of Iranium in Canada. The film is premiering in the United States on February 8, with a nationwide screening event.

The film's flagship premiere event will take place on Capitol Hill, hosted by House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). On the same date, the film will be screened in AMC theaters in select cities and in community centers across the country. The film will also be made available for free online streaming to the first 50,000 registrants at

Narrated by Academy Award Nominee and Emmy Award Winning Iranian actress, Shohreh Aghdashloo, the film utilizes rare footage of Iranian leaders, and interviews with 25 leading politicians, Iranian dissidents, and experts on: Middle East policy, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation.