Canada's FM Stands Up to 'The Evil Regime in Iran'
Canada's top diplomat blasted Iran for human rights violations and religious intolerance at a meeting of world parliamentarians, drawing an angry response from Tehran's delegation.
As the European Union continues to send mixed signals about its stance vis-a-vis Iran, Canada has been consistent in its message - the world needs to stand up to Iran.
Addressing 1,400 lawmakers at the gathering in Quebec City, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said "the evil regime in Iran... remains the most significant threat to global peace and security," accusing Tehran of fomenting hatred against the Jewish people and supporting terrorist groups.
He also scolded the country for their widely known religious intolerance, saying Bahais and Christians in Iran were "consistently threatened with death and torture, simply for believing," according to AFP.
The foreign minister's words clearly infuriated the Iranian delegation present at the gathering. Iraj Nadimi, head of the eight-member group, threw up his arms in a display of protest, and held up a small sign identifying his country.
Later he accused Baird of meddling in Iran's sovereign affairs, likening the remarks to Tehran using the forum to promote Quebec's independence from the rest of Canada.
In his speech, Baird called on delegates to return home and press their respective governments to throw their support behind a human rights resolution on Iran at the United Nations.
"This regime stands for everything we parliamentarians should stand against," he said.
After the speech, Baird spoke to reporters and dismissed the Iranian delegation's reaction to his comments, saying "sometimes the truth hurts."
"Staying silent is never an option when people stone women, when they hang gays, when they incite genocide, when they say they want to wipe the Jewish people and the Jewish state off the map," he said.
"It is never good for anyone in civilized society to stay quiet. It is tremendously important as an international community that we speak with one voice."
In September, Canada announced the closure of its embassy in Tehran and expelled Iranian diplomats from the country citing its human rights violations and threat to global peace, especially its "incitement to genocide" against Israel.