Foreign Affairs Minister Cites Safety of Diplomatic Staff, Threats Against Israel
By Daniel Horowitz--Today, the Government of Canada announced the immediate closure of Canada’s Embassy in Iran and the expulsion of all Iranian diplomats from Canada within five days. In addition to concerns for the safety of Canada’s diplomatic staff, the Government cited various reasons for the decision, including Iran’s illegal nuclear program, human rights violations, support for terrorism, and genocidal statements against the state of Israel.
The announcement was made by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, who cited Iran’s support of Syrian president Bashar Assad, its refusal to comply with the UN’s resolutions regarding its nuclear program, and its ongoing threats against Israel. Baird said the government is also formally listing Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, an act initiated in 2004 by C-Cat (The Canadian Coalition Against Terror), which was passed into law on March 12, 2012, with several key amendments requested by C-CAT. “Iran is among the world’s worst violators of human rights; and it shelters and materially supports terrorist groups,” Baird said in a statement.
“The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs strongly applauds the principled stand articulated by Foreign Minister John Baird and the Canadian government,” said Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre. “We believe the suspension of diplomatic relations with Iran and the listing of Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism is an appropriate Canadian response to the growing threat Iran represents to global security and stability.” The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy arm of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
“The deteriorating human rights situation domestically, the destructive role Iran is playing in Syria, the determination the regime has shown in its drive to acquire nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community, and its genocidal pronouncements regarding the Jewish state require the strongest of responses,” added Fogel.
“We believe that the removal of Canadian personnel from Iran creates a window of opportunity for Canada to move towards listing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity, consistent with Canada’s designation of Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Such a policy would further isolate Iran and together with the strictest enforcement of a comprehensive sanctions program will help ensure Canada exhausts all diplomatic and legal measures in confronting the regime.”