I emailed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa and received this statement back from Melissa Lantsman, on behalf of Canada’s Foreign Minister, Lawrence Cannon.
“We are deeply concerned about the news of this severe sentence. Our officials continue to seek confirmation of these reports from Tehran.
If true, this is completely unacceptable and unjustifiable. Canada believes that no one should be punished anywhere for simply exercising one’s inherent right to freedom of expression.
His situation is complicated by his dual nationality which is not recognized by the Iranian authorities. Iran must release him and other dual-nationals who have been unjustly detained.
Since learning of Hossein Derakhshan’s arrest in November 2008, Canadian government officials have been in contact with Iranian authorities, including by diplomatic note and through high level meetings, to seek consular access.
We will continue to press the Iranian authorities on Mr. Derakhshan’s behalf and urge Iran to fully respect all of its human rights obligations, both in law and in practice”.
Minister of Foreign Affairs