Canadian trucker caught up in U.S.-Iranian tensions
TORONTO, Ont. — A Toronto trucker, who shares the last name of an assassinated Iranian commander, has been denied entry to the U.S., CBC Radio reported this week.
Babak Soleimani told CBC’s As It Happens that he has no connection to Qasem Soleimani, who was killed Jan. 3 in a U.S. drone strike. General Soleimani was the commander of the elite Quds Force.
Babak Soleimani said he tried to explain to American border guards that “Soleimani” is a common last name in the Middle East.
“I’m a truck driver. I’m not part of any government. I’m not a part of any political system,” the Canadian-Iranian told CBC.
Babak Soleimani has been working for a shipping company for the past four years, and never had any trouble crossing the border until Jan. 10.
That was when he was stopped at the Windsor, Ont., crossing, and interrogated for hours before being denied entry and sent back to Canada, the report said.
CBC said U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed that Soleimani was denied entry because he was “deemed inadmissible”.
It also reported that U.S. border officers have been instructed to target and interrogate Iranian-born travelers amid tensions between the two countries.
Many passengers have since reported problems at Canada -U.S. border crossings.
On Jan. 8, Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board. The victims included 57 Canadian citizens and 29 permanent residents.
The downing of Flight PS752 came just hours after Iran retaliated for the general’s killing by carrying out missile strikes on two American bases in Iraq.
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