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Netanyahu Thanks Harper for Cutting Off Ties with Iran

Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, thanks him for his decision to expel Iranian diplomats.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/13/2012, 2:15 AM

Netanyahu and Harper
Netanyahu and Harper
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on Wednesday evening with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and thanked him for his decision to expel Iranian diplomats from his country and to withdraw Canada's representatives from Iran.

“Your decision constitutes an example of leadership and morality. It is an example of the correct message that the international community needs to send to Iran,” Netanyahu told his Canadian counterpart.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird explained last Friday that Canada is cutting off ties with Iran because “Canada views the Government of Iran as 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; 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,” said Baird.

“Moreover, the Iranian regime has shown blatant disregard for the Vienna Convention and its guarantee of protection for diplomatic personnel,” he added. “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.”

In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) earlier this week, Netanyahu praised Ottawa for closing its embassy in Tehran, saying Canada set an example for the rest of the world.

"We have to build a wall, not of silence, but of condemnation and resolve. Canada just put a very big brick in that wall that is necessary for the peace of the world," he said.

Canada has been a consistent supporter of Israel and is virtually the only country in the world to fully back Israel's counterterrorist campaign and its stated need to attack Iran if it does not stop its race for nuclear weapons.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) in Canada also welcomed the Canadian government’s announcement.

“The Centre strongly applauds the principled stand articulated by Foreign Minister John Baird and the Canadian government,” Shimon Fogel, CEO of CIJA, said in a statement.

“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,” he added.