April 27, 2010 | Press Release

Statement by FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz in advance of appearances today by Nobel Peace Pri

Washington, D.C. (April 27, 2010) – Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, issued the following statement in advance of appearances today by Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Iranian human rights activist Dr. Shirin Ebadi. Mr. Dubowitz will appear with Ms. Ebadi at a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. Dubowitz leads the foundation’s Iran Energy Project, which focuses on energy sanctions as a means to stop the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program, support for terrorism, and abuse of human rights.

A nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran’s theocratic rulers would be not just a weapon of mass destruction but also a weapon of mass oppression against courageous supporters of human rights like Shirin Ebadi. It would guarantee the continued oppression of Iranians who the regime has murdered, tortured, abused and raped in an attempt to crush their demands for freedom; Syria would remain an Iranian vassal state indefinitely; Lebanon would soon be dominated by Hezbollah, Iran’s terrorist proxy; Gaza will remain under the rule of Hamas, another Iranian terrorist proxy; Iraq and Afghanistan would have no choice but to accommodate Iranian power; and the chance of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or the broader Arab-Israeli conflict, would become minuscule.

Prime Minister Harper should add real teeth to his strong rhetoric on Iran by listing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity under section 83.05 of the Criminal Code. He should also join the United States in passing tough sanctions against the Iranian energy sector, the lifeblood of the men who rule Iran. Canada should put Iran’s energy partners to a choice between doing business with Canada, a liberal and democratic country with enormous energy reserves which respects the rule of law, or with an Iranian regime which oppresses its own people, is building nuclear weapons, and supports terrorism.

The Obama administration should sign into law energy sanctions legislation currently being prepared by the U.S. Congress, that enjoy enormous bipartisan support. Congress’ patience with Iran is reaching an end as Iran continues to reject reasonable deals aimed at preventing its development of nuclear weapons.

Oil alone accounts for three-quarters of the Iranian government’s revenues. The Islamic Republic also has an economic ‘Achilles’ heel’ — it imports up to 40 percent of its gasoline from a handful of foreign suppliers. Profits from the gasoline trade and the Iranian oil and natural gas sectors are the source of an enormous patronage system run by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. In addition to its dominance over the Iranian economy, the Guard is increasingly the dominant political and security force; it is responsible for safeguarding the regime and using murder, torture, and rape to crush all dissent.

The sanctions legislation moving through the U.S. Congress has already had an impact. Numerous international energy firms are reducing their ties to Iran and some have cut or plan to cut their ties to Iran’s energy sector completely. The political risk equation is changing for these companies as they fear the possibility of being cut off from doing business in the United States if they continue their trade with Iran.

Details of the Panel

When: April 27th 2010 at 6:30-8:00pm

Where: Room 201-202, National Press Building, 165 Sparks Street

Host: John Weston, M.P., Canadian Government Liaison to the Persian-Iranian Community


  • Dr. Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Nazanin Afshin-Jam, International Human Rights Activist and Co-Founder of Stop Child Executions
  • Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Dr. Payam Akhavan International Human Rights Lawyer and McGill University Professor
  • Nazila Fathi, New York Times correspondent to Iran

FDD’s Iran Energy Project

FDD provides leading research and analysis in support of strong, broad-based energy sanctions, including gasoline, natural gas, and oil sanctions, as part of a comprehensive strategy to end the Iranian regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, support for terrorism, and abuse of human rights.

For more information, please visit FDD’s new Iran Energy Project website, IranEnergyProject.org, or contact Judy Mayka at [email protected].



Iran Sanctions