Tehran Welcomes Normal Canada Ties

Tehran Welcomes  Normal Canada TiesTehran Welcomes  Normal Canada Ties

Iran welcomes any move by the newly elected Canadian government to normalize diplomatic relations, the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson said.

"It was not Iran that cut bilateral ties and it will welcome any step by the Canadian government to resume ties and will reciprocate with a proper response," Hossein Jaber Ansari said in a press conference held in Tehran on Monday.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been suspended since 2012, when Canada's former conservative government abruptly closed its embassy in Tehran, asked Iranian diplomats to leave Canadian soil and imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran, IRNA reported.

But the incumbent liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, voiced hope during his campaign in June 2015 in an interview with CBC that "Canada would be able to reopen its mission" in Iran, saying he was "fairly certain that there are ways to reengage" with the Tehran government.

The CBC also reported last week that Trudeau has been advised by federal officials to anticipate the easing of sanctions against Iran in the coming months, since progress has been made on implementing last year's landmark nuclear agreement.

The deal was reached with major powers on July 14 to end sanctions against Iran in return for temporary constraints on its nuclear program.

Ansari said, "Hopefully, after the change of government in Canada and with the new government's willingness to reverse the wrong policy of its predecessor—the severance of relations which has been a failed and pointless policy—[Ottawa] will take political and diplomatic measures to normalize ties."

  Empty Rhetoric

The Foreign Ministry spokesman played down the latest Arab League meeting as part of a desperate attempt by Saudi Arabia to rally other Arab states against the Islamic Republic.

At the end of the Arab League emergency ministerial meeting in Cairo on Sunday, a statement was released, denouncing the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions and criticizing the Tehran government for failing to protect them.

The statement did not agree on any specific joint measures against Iran but set up a smaller committee to keep up discussions of the crisis and consult on possible future actions, Reuters said.

Ansari said, "The statement contains some empty rhetoric merely announcing positions … Almost no other government has given full blessing to the Saudi unilateral decision to break off political and diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic."

Tehran and Riyadh have been locked in a dispute triggered by the Saudi execution of highly respected Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on Jan. 2, which prompted Iranian protestors to storm the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad.

Saudis responded by announcing a break in relations with Iran the next day.