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Ottawa to install 'Mahsa Amini' signs in front of Iranian Embassy

The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Metcalfe Street in Ottawa is closed. (Google Maps) The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Metcalfe Street in Ottawa is closed. (Google Maps)

The city of Ottawa will rename a section of Metcalfe Street in front of the Iranian Embassy "Mahsa Amini", in support of the Iranian woman who died while in Iranian police custody last summer.

Council approved a motion from Coun. Theresa Kavanagh to install "Mahsa Amini" street plaques at the intersections along Metcalfe Street between Somerset Street West and MacLaren Street.

The motion also calls on Mayor Mark Sutcliffe to send a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling for continued and increased sanctions against the Iranian government until, "the people of Iran have access to freedom, justice and the totality of human rights guaranteed under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Amini died in Iranian police custody in September after being arrested by the morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic's strict dress code, sparking weeks of public protests across Iran.  Protests and rallies in support of women in Iran were held in Ottawa and across Canada.

"Mahsa's murder sparked protests in Iran and around the world," Kavanagh told Council. "The international campaign called Women, Life, Freedom - we've all received multiple emails from Ottawa citizens pleading for their city to take a stand on behalf of the people of Iran."

Kavanagh added the "Mahsa Amini plaque on Metcalfe will, in a small measure, give voice to those in Iran who cannot tell the truth for fear of their lives."

According the motion, the "Mahsa Amini" street signs will be installed for at least one year.

Five councillors voted against the motion.

Coun. Matthew Luloff opposed the motion, telling Council that the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been permanently closed for more than a decade.

"None of it will be visible to the intended audience," Luloff said. "So, if our municipality wishes to express our anger and disgust at the current situation in Iran, so be it. And if we wish to prescribe further sanctions, all the better. But the well intentioned 'therefore, be it resolved', clause asking to spend money on a ceremonial naming of a street block that has been irrelevant to the desired recipient for over a decade is a useless endeavour regardless of the symbolism."

Last March, the city installed 'Free Ukraine' street signs in front of the Russian Embassy on Charlotte Street to protest Russia's military invasion of Ukraine. Top Stories

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