Canada closes embassy in Iran

(JTA) — Canada has closed its embassy in Tehran, listed Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and expelled all Iranian diplomats from Canada. 

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“Canada’s position on the regime in Iran is well-known,” John Baird, the country’s foreign minister, told reporters while in Russia for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation Summit. “Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.”

He added, “The Iranian regime is providing increasing military assistance to the Assad regime” in Syria and “refuses to comply with UN resolutions pertaining to its nuclear program. It routinely threatens the existence of Israel and engages in racist anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement to genocide. It is among the world’s worst violators of human rights and it shelters and materially supports terrorist groups, requiring the government of Canada to formally list Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

Alluding to speculation about an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations, which Tehran refuses to open to international inspectors, he added, “Unequivocally, we have no information about a military strike on Iran.”

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu applauded the decision.

“The determination which Canada demonstrates is extremely important so that the Iranians understand that they cannot continue in their race to achieve nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said in a statement, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “This practical step must serve as an example to the international community [as regards to] moral standards and international responsibility.”

American Jewish groups also applauded the move. American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris said, “Other democratic countries should follow Canada’s laudable example and also break ties with Iran.” 

Iran hasn’t had a full ambassador in Canada since 2007. That followed a breakdown in relations in the wake of an Iranian-Canadian photographer being tortured and killed in Iran in 2003.

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