“Canada has closed its embassy in Iran, effective immediately, and declared personae non gratae all remaining Iranian diplomats in Canada.” ~ John Baird
WHITHER NON ALIGNMENT
Mr. Baird’s terse statement pronounced on Iran’s “egregious human rights record” and fear that Tehran might use the presence of the UN Secretary General at the Non Aligned summit to “further legitimize their own purposes.”
“would only serve to legitimize and condone the record of this regime which Canada views as the single most significant risk to global peace and security today.”These are uncharacteristically tough words on an international political issue from a Canadian Minister of Government though it seemed that what Mr. Baird had to say failed to impact on the UN Secretary General’s decision. He travelled to Iran anyway.
The Non Aligned Movement (NAM) has never in the half a century of its existence been far away from controversy linked to challenges to the legitimacy of its claim that its sole purpose is to allow member states to assert their independence from the competing spheres of influence of the two superpowers. That is not surprising. Membership of the movement has always included a generous helping of both hard-line, communist countries and countries espousing socialism as a national ideology
The end of the Cold War coincided with the NAM losing much of the attention that it had gained in the ‘60‘s and ‘70’s, as economically challenged member states rushed to secure bilateral and multilateral financial support from both Washington and US-backed multilateral financial entities including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Last month’s Sixteenth Summit of Heads of Non Aligned nations may not have attracted the kind of attention which the NAM gained during the heady days of the 1970’s though its significance was underscored by the presence in Tehran of Heads of Government from countries like Egypt and India, both long-standing allies of the United States.
If the Canadian Foreign Minister’s criticism of Ban Ki-moon’s decision to attend the Iran Non Aligned Summit is perhaps understandable given Canada’s outspoken position on what it perceives as the danger which a nuclear armed Iran might pose to world peace, it is not difficult to see why the UN Secretary General would have chosen to make the journey.
The NAM may have lost the aura of political attractiveness which drew developing countries to both the message and the movement, particularly, during the 1970’s. Nonetheless, in the same manner the events in the Middle East have conspired to draw a measure of international attention to the sixteenth summit of the NAM, so too might the movement persist and, in the process, make meaningful if occasional contributions to the fabric of international relations.
Canada has suspended diplomatic relations with Iran and is expelling Iranian diplomats from Canada, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced in a statement today.
Speaking to reporters in Russia, where he's attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation summit, Baird said the government is formally listing Iran today as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act. That will theoretically allow Canadians affected by terrorism supported by the Iranian regime to sue.
"Iran is among the world's worst violators of human rights. It shelters and materially supports terrorist groups," Baird said, adding: "Unequivocally, we have no information about a military strike on Iran."
In the statement, Baird said Canada has closed its embassy in Iran, effective immediately, and declared personae non gratae all remaining Iranian diplomats in Canada. Those diplomats must leave within five days. All Canadian diplomats have already left Iran.
"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," he said in the statement.The statement cited Iran's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, its failure to comply with UN resolutions on its nuclear program and its threats against Israel.
It also makes reference to Iran's "blatant disregard" of the Vienna Convention that guarantees the protection of diplomatic personnel.
Last November, Iranian students stormed the British Embassy in Tehran and ransacked its offices. Britain's Foreign Office summoned an Iranian diplomat in London amid complaints that Iran failed to provide proper security to the embassy and didn't do enough in response to the attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement congratulating Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the move, calling it a courageous act of leadership.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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.”