By Kanishka Singh
Aug 28 (Reuters) – Canada will deny temporary residency to Iran’s former health minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi, Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller said on Monday, citing Tehran’s human rights record, after Hashemi was reportedly seen in Montreal.
“Based on an assessment of the relevant facts recently brought to my attention, I have exercised my authority under s. 22.1 of the IRPA to prevent Mr. Seyed Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi from becoming a temporary resident of Canada for the maximum period of 36 months,” Miller said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
Section 22 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act gives the Canadian immigration minister the authority to deny temporary residency to a foreign national for up to three years.
“The decision itself, as communicated to the individual, is tied to Iran’s disregard for human rights,” Miller added, without disclosing Hashemi’s location, whether he had sought residency, or how the information was conveyed.
Hashemi served as the minister of health for the Iranian government from 2013 to 2019 under former President Hassan Rouhani. He was widely seen as the key official behind a 2014 launch of a plan for universal medical insurance.
Iran International, a U.S.-based news outlet focused on the Iranian diaspora, reported earlier in August that Hashemi was spotted in Montreal. It cited screenshots from a promotional video for the Quebec province’s tourism industry. Reuters could not independently verify the presence of Hashemi in Montreal.
Canada cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012 and listed the country as a supporter of extremism. It also recently imposed sanctions on Iran over alleged human rights abuses and the killing of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died in the custody of Iran’s morality police that enforced strict dress codes.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Christopher Cushing)