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Canadian Minister Criticizes Iran Over Legal 'Farce'

31 August 2004 -- Canada's new foreign minister today criticized Iran, saying the Islamic Republic has turned talks over a Canadian citizen who died in Iranian custody into what he called "a farce."

Speaking in Brussels, Pierre Pettigrew said he discussed the case of slain Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi with his European counterparts during two days of talks.

Pettigrew said Iran has made no progress on its human rights situation. He said Canada may press its allies to consider putting joint pressure on Tehran, but that sanctions on the Islamic Republic would probably not be effective.

The Canadian government accuses Iran of covering up the true circumstances surrounding Iranian-born Kazemi's death.

Iranian authorities detained Kazemi in June 2003 for taking photographs of Evin prison. Officials say she later died of a blow to the head during interrogation.