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Canada: We're Not Lifting Iran Sanctions - For Now

Canadian government welcomes Iran deal, but will not lift sanctions until proven that Iran is keeping its end of the agreement.
By Dalit Halevi, Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 11/25/2013, 8:03 PM

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird
AFP photo

Canada will not lift sanctions on Iran until proof has been given that the Islamic Republic is indeed in the process of freezing its nuclear program, Shalom Toronto reports. 

On Monday, Foreign Minister John Baird praised the efforts of the international community, noting that Canada has always held that every diplomatic effort should be exhausted in pursuit of preventing a nuclear Iran. However, he also stressed that the sanctions imposed on Iran had already forced it to adopt a more moderate approach in negotiations - and that the deal may, from his experience, be an attempt by Iran to deceive the West.

As such, Baird strongly opposed Toronto lifting its own sanctions on Tehran until proof could be raised that Iran would keep its side of the agreement. 

"The Iranian people are entitled to freedom and prosperity, which we prevented them from having for so long because of the regime's nuclear ambitions," said Minister Baird. He said that a nuclear Iran is not only a threat to Canada and its allies, but that it could also severely damage efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and encourage other countries to acquire nuclear weapons for deterrence.

"We consider the agreement not only on a theoretical basis, but more importantly depending on the application and Iranian willingness to provide free access to its nuclear facilities for review," Baird stated. 

Paul Dewar, New Democratic Party (NDP) MP and Opposition leader, welcomed the deal made in Geneva, hailing it as "a significant step towards achieving peace and security in the region.

"The agreement demonstrates that the international community can, through intense effort reach a significant diplomatic achievement," said Dewar. He also called on the Canadian government to work with its allies - particularly the U.S., Britain and France - in order to ensure that  the temporary agreement with Iran could lead to a comprehensive settlement regarding its nuclear program, and push the world toward dismantling weapons of mass destruction.

Marc Garneau, Liberal Party MP, also supported the move.  "We believe that involvement in constructive dialogue, leading to a viable settlement, is better than the lack of dialogue," said Garneau. "The agreement reached in Geneva is the first positive step, but requires continued vigilance and concrete steps to ensure that it is implemented in practice."

Canada has, by and large, remained supportive of Israel in its moves to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In 2012, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanked Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for cutting dies with the Islamic Republic.