Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, said Sunday that Israel has every right to feel threatened by the Iranian nuclear program, The Canadian Press reported.
Baird made the comments during a television appearance on the Canadian network CTV, the report said, and pointed to comments made last week by the Islamic republic's supreme leader, who vowed to remove the Israeli “cancer” from the Middle East.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a speech broadcast across Iran on Friday, also pledged to aid any nation or group that challenges Israel. He topped those remarks on Monday when he endorsed a new doctrine explaining why it would be 'legally and morally justified' to commit genocide and wipe Israel off the map.
“Obviously you can understand why the Jewish people and why Israel would take [Khamanei] seriously,” CP quoted Baird as having said in an interview.
Baird, who gave the interview during his trip to Israel, added, “Hitler wrote Mein Kampf more than a decade before he became Chancellor of Germany. And they take these issues pretty seriously here.”
He emphasized that Canada supports U.S. President Barack Obama in keeping “all options,” including military action, on the table.“At the same time, I think we have an incredible responsibility to take every single diplomatic effort necessary,” Baird was quoted as having said.
During his visit to Israel, Baird spoke at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and also at the 12th annual Herzliya Conference, where he called the delegitimization and demonization of Israel the "new anti-Semitism."
Baird also said, "Canada does not stand behind Israel; Canada stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel," which he repeated during a meeting with President Shimon Peres.
In Sunday’s interview with CTV, Baird also addressed the Syria issue and expressed “deep disappointment” with Russia and China's decision to veto a United Nations resolution that called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to give up power.
He would not say whether the issue would be raised during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit this week to Beijing, choosing only to say that there would be a “full range of discussions” when asked whether Canada will ask the Chinese government to reconsider its action.