Iran has slammed Canada’s decision to close its embassy in Iran, saying it will soon give Canada an appropriate response.
On Friday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced that Canada is suspending all diplomatic relations with Iran.
The Canadian Embassy in Iran has been closed and Canadian consular services have been referred to the Turkish embassy, while Iranian diplomats in Ottawa have been given five days to leave the country.
Baird cited Iran’s enmity with Israel, its support of Syria and terrorism as reasons for this decision.
Baird also said that in view of the attack on the British embassy in November 2011, Ottawa is concerned for the safety of Canadian diplomats in Tehran.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast referred to the Canadian move, saying: “One of the results of our successful hosting of the NAM summit in Tehran, despite pressures from Western powers including the governments of the United States and Canada as well as the Zionist regime in trying to convince various states to refrain from attending the meeting, is the dismal failure of these countries to win the diplomatic battle they have been waging against Iran in the public mind and through global media.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has commended Canada’s decision to cut off relations with Iran.
Israel is a major ally of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s conservative government, and since the conservatives took power in Canada, Iranian-Canadian relations have progressively declined.
Baird had urged the UN Secretary General to refrain from attending the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran and has defended Israel’s right to a military attack on Iran.
Despite U.S. and Israeli intelligence, which concluded that there is no evidence that Iran has decided to develop nuclear weapons, Harper was quoted as saying on national Canadian television last February that he is convinced that Iran is trying “beyond any doubt” to develop nuclear weapons.
Mehmanparast went on to add: “Clearly the extremist government of Mr. Harper has a history of hostile actions against the Iranian nation and is leading the way in implementing illegal and unilateral sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank and other banks, disrupting consular services to citizens of our country and freezing the accounts of Iranian nationals.”
He added: “These moves reveal that the current Canadian government is sacrificing the interests of the Canadian people by following the policies of certain Western countries and the Zionist regime.”
An advisory against all travel to Iran has been issued by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, which predicts that the severing of diplomatic relations could result in difficulties for Canadians traveling in Iran.
Ramin Mehmanparast said: “The appropriate response of our country to the hasty and radical action of the Canadian government will soon be announced to our great nation.”