In Canada, Cuba, Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment, Iran, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, West Asia

Amir Khadir campaigning with his wife Nima Machouf, who is running in Sep. 20 polls. Photo taken from his FB wall.

To many Quebecers Amir Khadir may be known as a left-wing progressive politician. But is he really? Surprisingly, some of his recent positions and actions, especially with regards to international politics, cast a strong shadow of doubt on his self-proclaimed progressive political tendencies and goals – to the extent that it makes you rethink him being a progressive politician at all.

By Mohamad Solymani

Published on The Canada Files, Sept 13, 2021

To many Quebecers Amir Khadir may be known as a left-wing progressive politician. But is he really? Surprisingly, some of his recent positions and actions, especially with regards to international politics, cast a strong shadow of doubt on his self-proclaimed progressive political tendencies and goals – to the extent that it makes you rethink him being a progressive politician at all.

In what follows, we will review some of his recent positions which may cause you to reconsider if he really is a leftist.

Amir Khadir was a member of the Rassemblement pour une alternative politique (RAP) from its inception in 1997, and he took part in the founding of the Union des Forces Progressistes in June 2002. At one point, he was spokesperson for the party. In the fall of 2005, Khadir signed the Manifesto for a Québec based on solidarity [1]. He participated in several humanitarian projects in Nicaragua (1987), Zimbabwe (1990), and India (1997). From 1998 to 2008, he provided medical assistance in Palestine, and for the Caravane d’amitié Québec-Cuba. From 2000 to 2002, he headed Doctors of the World emergency medical assistance missions in several countries, including Afghanistan[2]. He became the spokesperson for the Union des forces progressistes, a new party resulting from the merger of the RAP, the Parti de la démocratie socialiste, and the Communist Party of Québec.

You would expect that a resume like this belongs to an anti-imperialist, socialist, and left-wing activist, but Khadir’s recent positions may speak to the contrary.

One of the obvious examples was his approval of the US-led bombing of Libya[3] where he believed the Libyan people had asked for foreign military intervention. And by “Libyan people” he meant the Libyan National Council, the self-proclaimed alternative Libyan government created, with the assistance of the imperialist powers.

Ironically, he condemns the governments of the invaded countries for being oppressive and anti-democratic states more than he condemns the totally illegal and unfair military intervention of the western powers. It sounds as if he believes western powers’ interventions (whether in the form of imposing war or sanctions) in a long list of sovereign states, including Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Venezuela, are inevitable because of the allegedly regressive politics in those countries and because some people are willing to accept dictators, but the “real people” long to be freed by western powers. How close is this narrative to that of the invaders? This argument is like putting the blame of poverty on the laziness of the poor: it is they who are the problem, not the system.

Cuba is the only Latino country that has protected its population from the corona pandemic impressively and has developed a vaccine even under harsh US sanctions. Due to the sanctions, Cuba has difficulty buying the three syringes for its three-dose vaccine. To provide syringes for Cubans, La Caravane d’amitié Québec-Cuba, a thirty-year-old progressive organization, launched a campaign in Québec[4] and asked Amir Khadir for support. Khadir seemed inclined to support the group at the beginning, but he ended up changing his position.

He criticized the group for supporting a ‘non-democratic’ Cuba saying, in a public e-mail to La table de concertation, that organising medical help for Cuba in this context meant supporting the repressive government of Cuba. But he never condemned Biden’s campaign to open a humanitarian corridor for Cuba, knowing that, from an anti-imperialist point of view, the offer of a humanitarian corridor by an imperialist country is usually an excuse for intervening in another country’s affairs. Khadir’s departure from an anti-imperialist standpoint and his tilt towards a neo-liberalist narrative is not only obvious in the case Libya and Cuba, but also in the case of Iran, as we shall see.

It is quite obvious that Khadir no longer views the US as a leading imperialist. Or he may see all countries as potential or actual imperialists, and he chooses to side with the more powerful and more “democratic” one. From his recent exchanges with his socialist friends, it seems that he is telling them: “I was with you. We did all we could, but it did not work within a reasonable timeframe. Sorry, it’s time to change our point of view”.

Khadir’s new neo-liberal position is even more obvious when it comes to his country of origin, Iran. The spectrum of protestors and opposition to the Iranian government can be divided into two major groups: the reformists, who are not strongly opposed to Iranian’s foreign policy (in some cases they even approve of it), but they are strongly opposed to Iran’s internal policies and/or its governing system; the other group is the extremists, who are opposed to the Iranian political system in its entirety, and who want regime change. Most of the left-wing Iranians are among the reformists while two major groups among the extremists are the royalists (loyalists of the previous monarch), and the MEK (Mojahedin-e-khalgh), a militant group (sometimes listed as a terrorist organization) that is supported or approved by Saudi Arabia[5], the US[6], Israel[7], and the Conservative Party of Canada[8].

In 2020, the Iranian Canadian Congress, the largest Iranian community organization in North America, was holding an election in which the extremists and the reformists competed against each other for positions on its board of directors. In that election, Amir Kadir was a nominee and, alongside his wife, Nima Machouf, he campaigned with the prominent royalists and extremists to defeat the reformists in any way possible. Normally, you would not expect a former MNA to run for a community organization. Khadir suffered a humiliating defeat in this election, finishing 17th among 19 candidates[9], which shows he is not popular even among Iranian activists.

Amir Khadir and Nima Machouf are clearly pro-sanctions and pro-regime-change when it comes to Iran, since they are strongly opposed to the Iranian reformists (who favour finding peaceful solutions[10]), they advocate aggressive actions, and they support Bill-S219[11], proposed by the Conservatives, for imposing harsher sanctions on Iran.

On January 5, 2020, Montrealers organized an anti-war march in solidarity with the people of Iran and Iraq after the killing of Gen. Soleimani and his Iraqi colleagues in a U.S. drone strike[12]  in Baghdad. The organizers, including Échec à la guerre and Mouvement Québecois pour la paix, agreed upon no anti-regime slogans during the march so as to keep the focus of the march on protest against Trump’s foreign policy and his threat of a military attack against Iran. The Iranian reformists’ participation was strong, together with many non-Iranian Montrealers. Khadir participated along with Nima and a small number of Iranian extremists, in an “annex” to the main march, and putting up anti-regime posters and raising anti-régime slogans, despite the agreed-upon rules. Reportedly, Khadir participated in a lengthy verbal exchange with the organizers before the march to try and discredit and smear the Iranian reformists – something which shocked the organizers.

Amir Khadir shares discussion panels with prominent right-wing figures and neo-liberals such as Kaveh Shahrooz[13], senior researcher at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute [MLI], an ultra-right Canadian Think-Tank known for supporting controversial Canadian pipeline projects and aggressive conservative Canadian foreign policies. The MLI also receives up to 80% of funding from the Latvian Ministry of Defence[14], hosts “anti-disinformation” project run by senior fellow who defends Estonian Nazi collaborators (funded by the US State Department funded Global Engagement Centre, Journalists for Human Rights and the MLI) [15], and tried to demand sanctions against China and Iran for the West’s failure to deal effectively with COVID-19 [16].

Shahrooz, who considers law professor, former Liberal cabinet minister, and cheerleader for Israel, Irwin Cotler, his “great mentor”[17], also supports imposing harsher Canadian sanctions on Iran[18]. Khadir also has shared panels with Reza Moridi and Shirin Ebadi to promote harsher sanctions against Iran. They are known extremist figures among the Iranians.

One may wonder how Amir Khadir or Nima Machouf, who pretend to be for self-determination of the Québec nation, justify foreign interventions in the affairs of sovereign states, such as Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Venezuela, among others, either in the form of unilateral and illegal economic sanctions or of wars of aggression. In light of all the above evidence, Amir Khadir is not the person he pretends to be. He is right-wing in outlook, pro-NATO intervention, and pro-imperialist. And Nima Machouf, who is running for the NDP in the current federal election, shares the identical ideas regarding Iran and international politics as her faux-progressive husband[19].


[1] Pour un Québec solidaire : La gauche réplique au manifeste Pour un Québec lucide, LCN (2005-11-01)









[10] https://www.iccon











Mohamad Solymani came to Canada in 1983, from Germany where he had been studying since the days of the Shah. He set up ‘Alborz’, the first Farsi-language socio-political paper in Canada. He continues his journalism and his socio-political activities.


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