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Daily Israel Report

Canada Closes Embassy in Iran, Expels Iranian Diplomats

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced that Canada has closed its embassy in Iran and is expelling Iranian diplomats.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 9/7/2012, 8:22 PM

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Reuters

Canada announced on Friday that it is closing its embassy in Iran and would be expelling Iranian diplomats from Canada.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement, “Canada has closed its embassy in Iran, effective immediately, and declared personae non gratae all remaining Iranian diplomats in Canada.

“Canada’s position on the regime in Iran is well known. Canada views the Government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today,” said Baird.

“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; 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.

“Moreover, the Iranian regime has shown blatant disregard for the Vienna Convention and its guarantee of protection for diplomatic personnel,” said Baird’s statement. “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.

“Diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran have been suspended. All Canadian diplomatic staff have left Iran, and Iranian diplomats in Ottawa have been instructed to leave within five days.

“Canada has updated its Travel Reports and Warnings to advise Canadians to avoid all travel to Iran. Canadians who have Iranian nationality are warned in particular that the Iranian regime does not recognize the principle of dual nationality. By doing so, Iran makes it virtually impossible for Government of Canada officials to provide consular assistance to Iranian-Canadians in difficulty.”

Canada’s announcement was welcomed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose office said in a statement on Friday, “A week after the show of anti-Semitism and hatred in Tehran, the Canadian government has adopted a highly moral step. The determination shown by Canada is very important so the Iranians realize they cannot continue the race for nuclear weapons.

“This practical step should be an example to the international community of morality and responsibility,” said the statement. “It is important that the international community join this pressure by presenting clear red lines for Iran.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)