The father of a victim aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 — shot down by Iranian missiles in January 2020 — has arrived in Ottawa after marching for over two weeks to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Mehrzad Zarei, father of 17-year-old Arad who died in the shootdown, began his journey from Richmond Hill, Ont., to Ottawa on Aug. 10 to hand Trudeau a letter with demands for justice for the flight victims.
Among the demands is listing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group.
A branch of the IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force, is already listed as a terrorist group by Public Safety Canada.
More than 100 of the 176 people killed in the plane crash on Jan. 8, 2020, had ties to Canada, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.
With Trudeau in Nunavut on Thursday, Zarei was ushered in to meet parliamentary secretary to the prime minister Greg Fergus instead.
Zarei was accompanied by family members of other victims from Flight 752 who held photos of their loved ones and remained outside the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Today’s message, we say, enough is enough,” Zarei told reporters before entering the meeting. He listed demands that also included Canadian sanctions on Iranian authorities and for the case to be pursued at the International Court of Justice.
Zarei went on to read his letter addressed to Trudeau.
“Arad was not only my son, but my best friend in my life. He was my only reason to live,” Zarei said. “Since that fateful day of January 8, every day of my life has been consumed with sorrow and pain.”
The Prime Minister’s Office had no immediate response to a query about Zarei’s march to Ottawa.
The family members will return to Ottawa on Oct. 4 to mark 1,000 days since the flight was shot down and to renew their calls for justice.
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