Canada severs ties with Iran

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made a string of incendiary remarks in recent years about Israel's existence.

Story highlights

  • Canada cites increasing concern about Iran's nuclear program, other issues
  • Foreign minister: Iran is the world's "most significant threat to global peace and security"
  • Canadian diplomats have already left Iran, John Baird says
  • He says Iranian diplomats have five days to get out of Canada

Canada suspended relations with Iran and expelled the country's diplomats Friday, calling the country's regime "the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today."

Iranian diplomats in Canada have five days to get out, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Friday in a scathing statement. Canada's diplomatic staff has already left Iran, and Baird advised all Canadians to avoid travel to the country.

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Among other things, Iran "refuses to comply with U.N. 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," Baird said.

He also called out the regime for providing military support to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been widely criticized in international circles for the government's bloody effort to suppress a rebellion.

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"Moreover," Baird said, "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."

A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry slammed the decision Saturday.

"Hostile attitude of the Canadian racist government is indeed pursuing the policies as dictated by the Zionist regime and the UK," Ramin Mehmanparast said, according to the semiofficial news agency, IRNA

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