Canada Set to Reestablish Diplomatic Ties with Iran

Canada Set to Reestablish Diplomatic TiesCanada Set to Reestablish Diplomatic Ties

Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau said his administration is willing to promote interaction with Iran and exchange diplomatic missions, although it is cautious in its efforts. 

"It's something we are working toward but not something that we're going to make an imminent announcement on," said the top Canadian official in a Friday interview with the Canadian daily Toronto Star.

The previous conservative government closed Canada's Embassy in Tehran and expelled Iranian diplomats from Ottawa in September 2012. 

The unexpected decision was made by former hardline premier, Stephen Harper, citing, among other pretexts, "continued threats from Iran to Israel".

Since he took office in late 2015 on a promise of change, Trudeau has on several occasions criticized Harper for the decision that was made merely on "political and ideological" grounds and expressed willingness to reopen Canada's Embassy.

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".

"We're continuing to engage … but we're being very cautious and responsible about it," Trudeau told Toronto Star.

"I'm under no illusion about some of the challenges that Iran is facing internally and poses on the regional and indeed global stage," the prime minister said. "But as I've said many times, I think it's important to talk to people you disagree with."

The two countries' foreign ministers first met after the severance of diplomatic relations in New York last September, on the sidelines of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi stated that expert-level talks aimed at normalizing relations were initiated several months ago in a third country.

According to Qasemi, as a first step for rapprochement, the two countries should consider establishing interests sections at the diplomatic premises of third countries.

The Italian Embassy has been handling the North American country's interests in Tehran since 2013 and Iran's assets in Canada have been protected by the Oman Embassy. The two embassies will most likely host interests sections.

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