Heritage Minister orders agency to screen documentary on Iran

Decision follows 'violent threats' that caused Library & Archives Canada to cancel screenings

Iranium, a controversial documentary film about Iran, has become the centre of controversy after Heritage Minister James Moore instructed Library and Archives Canada to show the film, despite “threats of violence” which caused a screening of the film to initially be cancelled. Both Moore and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had earlier criticized Library and Archives, a federal Crown agency, for cancelling the screening. “The principle of free speech is one of the cornerstones of our democracy,” read a statement from Moore’s office. This came after Pauline Portelance, a spokeswoman for Library and Archives Canada, said the Iranian embassy had asked that the film be cancelled. After the request was denied, people—whom Portelance described as “members of the public”—started phoning Library and Archives complaining about the planned screening and threatening to protest. After the “threats were getting too serious,” Portelance said, a decision was then made to cancel the screening. Now, politicians are calling on the cancellation as a threat to a free and open society. “The Iranian Embassy will not dictate to the Government of Canada which films will or will not be shown in Canada,” added Moore.

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