Canada cuts ties with Iran, closes embassy, orders Iranian diplomats home

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has severed Canadian ties with Iran over its sponsorship of terrorism and amid fears about the safety of diplomats in the country.

Baird says the Canadian embassy in Tehran will close immediately and Iranian diplomats in Canada have been given five days to leave.

The skeleton staff that was operating Canada’s Tehran mission has already fled the country.

“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. Our diplomats serve Canada as civilians and their safety is our No. 1 priority.”

He also condemned the regime as a sponsor of terrorism.

“Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today,” he said.

He recited a litany of complaints about Iran, including its support for the Assad regime in Syria, its nuclear program, its threats to Israel and its abysmal human rights record.

“The Iranian regime is providing increasing military assistance to the Assad regime,” Baird said.

“It refuses to comply with United Nations resolutions pertaining to its nuclear program. It routinely threatens the existence of the state of Israel, and engages in racist anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement to genocide.”

Foreign Affairs is also warning ordinary Canadians to avoid any travel to Iran.

People seeking Canadian consular services in Iran are being directed to the embassy in Turkey.

Canada’s relations with Iran have been iffy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. After Canadians spirited American diplomats out of Tehran in 1980 during the post-revolution hostage crisis, the Canadian embassy was closed for eight years.

Full article: Canada cuts ties with Iran, closes embassy, orders Iranian diplomats home (Montreal Gazette)