Canada’s efforts to crackdown on Iranian officials living in the country has resulted in a top science bureaucrat, Majid Iranmanesh, appearing before an immigration panel on Thursday. Iranmanesh, a former director general at the Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology in Iran, entered Canada on May 29, 2023, hoping to conduct research at the University of Victoria for one year.
Despite being in Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has not explained how he was able to obtain a visa to enter the country. On Nov. 29, 2023, the Canada Border Services Agency referred his case to the Immigration and Refugee Board for hearings, alleging that he is inadmissible to Canada as a senior official of the Iranian regime. If the Refugee Board concurs, a deportation order will be issued under sanctions adopted last year.
Iranmanesh, who is 54 years old, did not respond to questions sent to his Facebook or email accounts, but during the hearing he expressed a desire to leave Canada by next week. He admitted to working for the Iranian government since 2017, serving in various positions until becoming a consultant working on contract.
Although he asked the IRB to allow him to leave without a deportation order, he faced a difficult road ahead. He stated that he wanted to return to his country, and added that this situation hindered his research and humanitarian work.
The CBSA stated that they have reported 10 individuals inadmissible for being senior officials in the Iranian regime, with three of those cases being referred to the IRB for hearings. About 140 similar cases are still under investigation, partly as a result of tips from the public, the CBSA reported. In addition, 78 Iranians have been denied access to Canada before they arrived due to security screening.
Canada’s imposition of sanctions on senior members of the Iranian regime and the crackdown on their officials in the country is in response to Iran’s human rights violations and “terrorism.” The policy has effectively barred tens of thousands of Iranian officials and IRGC members from Canada.