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Canadian PM Slams Predecessor for Cutting Iran Relations

Canadian PM Slams Predecessor for Cutting Iran RelationsCanadian PM Slams Predecessor for Cutting Iran Relations

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the former conservative government for its decision four years ago to cut diplomatic ties with Iran, which he said was made on "political and ideological" grounds.

Trudeau was speaking with reporters in a media session in Toronto on Friday, CBC reported. In September 2012, the administration of the former Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, severed diplomatic contacts with the Islamic Republic, citing, among other pretexts, "continued threats from Iran to Israel".

Canada shut its embassy in Tehran and ordered Iranian diplomats to leave the North American country within five days.

The Italian Embassy has been handling Canada's interests in Iran since then. However, Trudeau came to office in the 2015 election on a promise of change, including changes in foreign policy.

He has expressed willingness on several occasions to see Canada's Embassy reopen in Tehran and in February, his liberal government announced it was lifting some sanctions against Iran.

  Right Signal

"I think Canada is sending the right signal" by deciding to partially remove the sanctions, Trudeau said in March, adding that Canada needs to engage with nations that it believes pose a security challenge to the world.

"You need to have opportunities to put pressure, to tell them where they're going wrong, to tell them how to start going right ... You don't get to do that by crossing your arms and shouting indiscriminately and hoping they hear," he said.

In April, Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion acknowledged that the break in relations "had no positive consequences for anyone: not for Canadians, not for the people of Iran, not for Israel and not for global security".

"Canada's Embassy in Iran has been closed for over three years. With which results? Is it right to need to count on Italy to protect our interests in this country?" Dion asked. "Today, Canada must return to Iran to play a useful role in that region of the world … We are being asked by all sides to reengage and we are doing so."

Later on June 10, he confirmed to CBC News that official-level talks with Iranians aimed at normalizing relations had started.

Iranian expatriates living in Canada have filed a petition containing more than 5,600 names to push for the resumption of Tehran-Ottawa ties.

 

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