Five key disputes Canada had with Iran that may have contributed to the diplomatic rift
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 10:05
Five key disputes Canada had with Iran that may have contributed to the diplomatic rift
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement Canada had closed its embassy in Tehran

and that all remaining Iranian diplomatic personnel in Canada had been declared personae non gratae. Here are five issues Canada has had with Iran over the years which may have contributed to the rift.



Hostage Crisis It was Nov. 4, 1979, and Iran’s monarchy had just been toppled. A mob of radical pro-Khomeini Iranians stormed the American embassy in Tehran. They took nearly everyone hostage for 14 months, but there were six diplomats who managed to avoid such a fate. Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor arranged to shelter the six Americans, three of whom stayed at his official residence for two months. As tensions mounted, Canada took action: The Joe Clark government issued fake Canadian passports for the six diplomats, who were passed off as film-makers as they fled the country by airplane on Jan. 27, 1980. The Canadian Embassy in Tehran was soon closed, and the two countries did not return to normal diplomatic relations until 1996.

Zahra Kazemi’s murder Ms. Kazemi, a photojournalist with dual Canadian-Iranian citizenship, was arrested after taking pictures of a student protest outside a Tehran prison in July, 2003. At first, Iran’s official news agency reported she died in the hospital after suffering a stroke, but soon after the country’s vice-president said she had actually been beaten to death in jail. Under pressure, the Iranian government charged a security agent, but he was acquitted of “quasi-intentional” murder. Two years later, when Canada tightened its Controlled Engagement Policy, Ottawa limited diplomatic discussions with Iran to just four subjects, including the case of Ms. Kazemi.

Hezbollah In 2002, Ottawa designated Hezbollah as a terrorist entity; the radical Shia group was ideologically inspired by the Iranian revolution and is today funded, trained and armed by Iran. Its goals are the “liberation of Jerusalem, the destruction of Israel, and, ultimately, the establishment of a revolutionary Shia Islamic state in Lebanon, modelled after Iran,” according to Public Safety Canada’s description.

Sanctions In July, 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada would impose economic sanctions on Iran because the regime refused to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and suspend its enrichment-related activities. A year later, Canada raised sanctions after reports of an Iranian-coordinated scheme to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the U.S. More sanctions have been added since.

Recent tensions There have been many. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in June “Iran’s ongoing use of UN forums to harass Israel and insult Jewish people around the world is completely unacceptable,” and in July he expressed disappointment over Iran’s appointment to the recent UN Arms Trade Treaty conference. Later that month, his department issued a public warning to Iranian diplomats allegedly using their Ottawa embassy to recruit Iranian-Canadians to serve the Islamic Republic’s interests. And just two weeks ago, Mr. Baird wrote UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon imploring him not to attend the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Iran because of the country’s “egregious human rights record.”


National Post

‌ • Writer:Kathryn Blaze Carlson
 • Source: National Post‌
Views : 2121  ◊ News Id:118