September 7, 2012 (TSR) – 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 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.”
Update: We were sent a statement as per communicated by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Media Adviser late Friday
“I would like to commend Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for taking a step that showed leadership and daring and which sends a clear message to Iran and the entire world.
One week after the display of anti-Semitism and hatred in Tehran, the government of Canada is taking a moral step of the highest order. Canada’s determination is very important in order for the Iranians to understand that they cannot continue their race after nuclear weapons. This practical measure needs to serve as an example of international responsibility for the global community. It is important that the international community join in this pressure by setting Iran clear red lines.”