Canada Suspends Diplomatic Relations with Iran

Israel and Canadian flags in Jerusalem. Photo by Joshua Spurlock.Canada has decided to expel the Iranian ambassador to the country and close it’s embassy in Tehran, suspending diplomatic relations with Iran in a move that elicited praise from Israel on Sunday. In a press release from the Canadian foreign affairs ministry, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on Friday listed a litany of concerns on Iran—ranging from threatening Israel, to its nuclear program, to not protecting diplomatic personnel in its country.

“Canada’s position on the regime in Iran is well known,” Baird was quoted as saying. “Canada views the Government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today… Moreover, the Iranian regime has shown blatant disregard for the Vienna Convention and its guarantee of protection for diplomatic personnel. Under the circumstances, Canada can no longer maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran. Our diplomats serve Canada as civilians, and their safety is our number one priority.”

Iranian diplomats in Ottawa were given five days to leave. Canada also advised it’s citizens to “avoid all travel to Iran,” even dual citizens of Iran and Canada.

“Canadians who have Iranian nationality are warned in particular that the Iranian regime does not recognize the principle of dual nationality,” said Baird. “By doing so, Iran makes it virtually impossible for Government of Canada officials to provide consular assistance to Iranian-Canadians in difficulty.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday congratulated Canada for making the moves.

“I would like to congratulate Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for taking a daring and moral step and showing leadership on Friday, and thereby sending a principled and important message to the entire world, that the dark regime cannot have nuclear weapons,” the Israeli leader was quoted in press release as saying.

“I call on the entire international community, or at least on its responsible members, to follow in Canada’s determined path and set Iran moral and practical red lines, lines that will stop its race to achieve nuclear weapons.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, September 10, 2012)