Canada 'Deeply Skeptical' About Iran Deal
Despite a deal reached between Iran and the West, Canada said on Sunday it has no plans to remove the sanctions it has placed on the Islamic Republic.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, said he was "deeply skeptical" of the newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran, adding that Canada's sanctions will remain in "full force" against the country.
"We will evaluate the deal reached not just on the merits of its words but more importantly, on its verifiable implementation," Baird said at a news conference in Ottawa on Sunday, according to CBC.
He said that because previous Iranian leaders had made hostile comments toward Israel, “we're deeply skeptical of the deal and the work that's brought us to this stage.”
Baird declared that Canada will maintain sanctions against Iran, including restrictions on financial transactions, a ban on bilateral trade (worth about $135 million) and no Iranian diplomatic representation in Canada.
Last May, Canada ratcheted up its sanctions against Iran, adding 30 individuals and 82 entities to an economic blacklist and banning almost all exports to and imports from the country.
That move came several months after Canada announced it would expel Iranian diplomats from its territory and withdraw Canada's representatives from Iran.
Baird explained at the time 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.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and thanked him for the decision.
President Shimon Peres also praised Canada for breaking off relations with Iran, saying that it was an “act of bravery, Canada took a clear stand against the greatest danger of our time, and this shows its courage. We greatly appreciate it."
On Sunday, Baird said, "Past actions predict future actions and Iran has defied the United Nations Security Council, and simply put, Iran has not earned the right to have the benefit of the doubt.”
Baird said he would like to see Iran abandon its plutonium enrichment program altogether and to shut down all its centrifuges.
Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu rejected the deal signed with Iran as “a historic mistake”, clarifying that Israel was not bound by the agreement.
Later in the day, U.S. President Barack Obama called Netanyahu to discuss the deal.
"Consistent with our commitment to consult closely with our Israeli friends, the president told the prime minister that he wants the United States and Israel to begin consultations immediately regarding our efforts to negotiate a comprehensive solution," a White House spokesman told reporters.