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The Canadian case for building bridges with Iran

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The latest protests within Iran have come and gone — for the most part — but their impact will endure. Although the ruling clerics are still firmly in charge, committed as ever to maintaining power, the unexpected demonstrations — particularly among Iran’s rural poor — were a warning their power is not secure.

So what happens now?

Whether these protests will eventually lead to more reform, rather than more repression, is not entirely in the hands of those protesters. It is also up to the rest of us from outside the country — and our governments — as we witness this latest stage in Iran’s historic evolution.

Will we, in this era of Donald Trump, embolden Iran’s hardliners by further isolating Iran and pushing it in the direction of more extremist actions? Trump’s continuing determination to kill the nuclear agreement with Iran is a classic example of this.

Or will we — particularly the Canadian government — be wise and courageous enough to increase our engagement with Iran so that the country’s reformist forces are given support and encouragement?

The challenge is that, more than any country in the Middle East, the Islamic Republic of Iran is replete with........

© Toronto Star