Canada suspends diplomatic ties with Iran

Updated: 2012-09-08 09:31


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OTTAWA - Canada has suspended its diplomatic relations with Iran and instructed Iranian diplomats here to leave within five days, Foreign Minister John Baird said Friday.

"Canada has closed its embassy in Iran, effective immediately, and declared personae non gratae all remaining Iranian diplomats in Canada," Baird said in a statement.

Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today, he said, slamming Tehran on such issues as the Syria crisis and Iran's nuclear program.

"The Iranian regime is providing increasing military assistance to the (Syrian President Bashar) 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," he added.

Iran is also among the world's worst violators of human rights, and shelters and materially supports terrorist groups, he said, adding that that requires Canada to formally list Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism under Canada's Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act.

"The Iranian regime has shown blatant disregard for the Vienna Convention and its guarantee of protection for diplomatic personnel," he said.

"Under the circumstances, Canada can no longer maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran," he added.

The minister said that Canada has updated its Travel Reports and Warnings to advise Canadians to avoid all travel to Iran.

"Canadians in Iran seeking routine consular and passport services should contact the Embassy of Canada in Ankara, Turkey, or any other Canadian mission," he added.

Over the past few years, Canada has been an active player in imposing sanctions against Iran, prohibiting trade and financial dealings with Iran's entities and individuals in an effort to suspend Tehran's all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.