Monday, 29 May, 2017

Iran welcomes amicable relations with Canada

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Iran would welcome reinforcing relations with Canada, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said here on Monday.

Hossein Jaber Ansari made the remarks at his weekly press briefing in Tehran.

Commenting on Canada’s severing diplomatic relations with Iran, he said the fresh stance of the new Canadian government has been announced in mass media.

‘The ex-Canadian government severed its relations with Iran and we hope the new Canadian government would practice proper political and diplomatic measures aimed at fostering relations with Iran,’ IRNA agency news quoted Jaber Ansari as saying.

‘Iran did not cut its relations with Canada and naturally Tehran would welcome amicable relations with Ottawa,’ he added.

Canadian ex-Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s administration severed diplomatic relations with Iran in September 2012, citing, among other pretexts, what it described as continued threats from Iran to Israel.

Back then, the Canadian government closed its embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and demanded that Iranian diplomats leave Canada within five days.

The two countries maintain interest sections in the embassies of third countries.

Trudeau said in June he’d move to normalize relations with Iran.

“I would hope that Canada would be able to reopen its mission, as I understand it, there were security concerns that led to the closing of the mission, but I’m fairly certain that there are ways to re-engage” Trudeau told a CBC interviewer in June, just as the United States and other world powers were concluding a nuclear deal with Iran that would reduce economic sanctions and open the country to renewed trade.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion also has said his country will be more constructive in its diplomatic dealings with Iran.

In an interview with the Ottawacitizen on Nov. 2015, Dion said the new Liberal government would re-engage with Iran.

Dion said cabinet has not discussed exactly how re-engagement will occur, including what to do about the fact the previous government listed Iran as a state sponsor of terror. And he said the government will approach Iran “with a lot of cautiousness.”

“But the bottom line is we need to engage much more than before, even with the regimes that we have difficulty with,” he said.

Meanwhile, Canadian officials have recently  prepared a briefing book for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looking at Canadian prospects in the region.

The Trudeau’s briefing book, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press under Access to Information, contains five assessments.

According to an assessment, Trudeau has been advised to anticipate the easing of possible sanctions against Iran in the coming months if progress is made on implementing last year’s landmark nuclear agreement between Tehran and six countries, including the United States.

“Canada will most likely lift sanctions against Iran this year. The United States, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China negotiated a deal with Iran that would see it scale back its ability to produce a nuclear weapon for a minimum of 15 years and significantly decrease its ability to enrich uranium for 10 years. If Iran complies, Canada would have to lift UN sanctions “as early as winter 2016 and as late as summer 2016.” says Trudeau’s briefing book.

There’s a noteworthy Iranian-Canadian community scattered across Canada, which has nurtured prominent artists, scientists, scholars, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, journalists and even politicians who maintain close relations with the fellow citizens living in Iran.

Image: Members of the local Iranian community in Canada gathered at the Alberta Legislature building in August 15, 2015 to support the Iran nuclear deal. (DAVID BLOOM/Edmonton Sun)

 

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