Canadian-Iranian relations hit a new low today when Ottawa announced it was in effect withdrawing recognition of the Tehran government, closing the Canadian Embassy in Iran, and withdrawing the remaining diplomats. Canada further isolated Tehran by expelling all Iranian diplomats from the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa. The Iranians must leave Canada within 5 days.
This move follows the earlier action on 29 April 2012 when Ottawa closed the Canadian visa office in Tehran and shifted all visa processing for Iranian nationals to the Canadian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Ottawa said it was a cost-saving measure, while Tehran said it was a hostile act. Both are correct.
Here is the full statement from the Canadian government:
“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.
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. 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.
Canadians in Iran seeking routine consular and passport services should contact the Embassy of Canada in Ankara, Turkey, or any other Canadian mission. Those who require urgent assistance should contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa, by calling collect at 613-996-8885 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
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.”
This means it has now become virtually impossible for Canadians to acquire visas for travel to Iran.
Many will rightly wonder if this is a step along the path to Canadian support for an Israeli attack against Iran. The extereme pro-Israel stance by Harper has alienated several close allies and has even gone further than even the normally blind USA in support for a regime which routinely commits crimes against humanity in the occupied territories. But to say that Iran is the biggest threat to peace on the planet is bizarre even for the current government in Ottawa.