Of all the nations of the free world, only Canada has the principles, the gumption and the courage of its convictions to do what’s right regarding Iran, and on Friday it severed diplomatic relations with Tehran.
Canada’s Conservative government said Friday it is shutting its embassy in Tehran and severing diplomatic relations with Iran, which Canada says is providing military assistance to Syria.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said that the Canadian embassy in Tehran will close immediately and Iranian diplomats in Canada have been given five days to leave.
Baird, who serves in a government that is a staunch ally of Israel, said Iran is the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.
“The Iranian regime is providing increasing military assistance to the Assad regime; it 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,” Baird said in a statement.
“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 under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act.”
Baird said he was worried about the safety of diplomats in Tehran following attacks on the British embassy there.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Canadian government’s decision, saying Ottawa ”adopted a bold and leader-like step that sends a clear message to Iran and the entire world.”
“This practical step should serve as an example of morality and international responsibility to the international community. It is important for the international community to join this pressure by setting clear red lines for Iran,” Netanyahu said.
Britain downgraded ties with Iran following a major attack on its embassy in Tehran in November 2011, which it insists was sanctioned by the Islamic republic’s ruling elite. After the attack, Britain pulled all of its diplomats out of Iran and expelled Iranian diplomats from U.K. soil.
Canada’s relations with Iran have been strained since former Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor helped rescue six Americans from Iran during the hostage crisis in 1980.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparst accused Canada of having a “radical foreign policy” that put the interests of Israel ahead of those of Canadians, reported Radio Farda, the Farsi-language version of Radio Free Europe.
The Iranian embassy in Ottawa also took a parting shot at the government, announcing in Farsi on its website that it had shut down due to Canada’s “hostile decision” and “cannot conduct any services for its dear countrymen.”
Canadian PM Stephen Harper with Israeli President Shimon Peres last year
President Shimon Peres issued a special statement on Saturday thanking the Canadian people and its leader for cutting diplomatic ties with Iran. He expressed hope that other nations will “see Canada as a moral role model” and follow in its footsteps.
“Canada has proven once again that morals come before pragmatism,” the statement said. “Canada has demonstrated that policy must reflect principles and values… Iran is a source of global terror, a blatant violator of human rights and Iran aims to dominate the entire Middle East.
“The combination of hegemonic ambition, political madness and a nuclear weapon is an unacceptable and unbearable combination which endangers the entire world and against which the entire world must act with all its power.”
Currently in Italy for an economic conference, Peres said that it was “inconceivable that a UN member state will threaten to destroy another member state, it completely contradicts the UN charter. Other member states must stand against it.”
“I would like to commend Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for taking a step that showed leadership and daring and which sends a clear message to Iran and the entire world.
One week after the display of anti-Semitism and hatred in Tehran, the government of Canada is taking a moral step of the highest order. Canada’s determination is very important in order for the Iranians to understand that they cannot continue their race after nuclear weapons. This practical measure needs to serve as an example of international responsibility for the global community. It is important that the international community join in this pressure by setting Iran clear red lines.”
The Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper is one of the most, if not the most, friendly countries towards Israel in the world. They are to be commended, saluted and cheered for their principled stance. Would that other countries in the free world would follow their example.