Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre travelled to Iran early October to sign an agreement of cooperation with the Mayor of Tehran.
According to Iranian media, the agreement was signed by Mayor of Tehran Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and his counterpart Denis Coderre at a ceremony at Tehran’s Milad Tower earlier this month.
Qalibaf expressed the hope Coderre’s visit would lead to “stronger cooperation” between Tehran and Montreal in “municipal and cultural affairs”, Iran’s Tasnim news reported.
The meeting came even though Canadian diplomatic ties with Iran continue to be ruptured.
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper cut Canada’s diplomatic ties with Iran and expelled all Iranian diplomats from Ottawa in 2012. However, the government of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made restoration of diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic one of its foreign policy priorities in the Middle East.
According to Canadian media, Coderre’s little publicized visit to Tehran was criticized by some members of the Canadian-Iranian community.
Last Wednesday, Coderrede defended his voyage to Iran, saying his meeting with the mayor of Tehran and other numerous official voyages abroad serve as a form of “urban diplomacy” that help to open a channel of dialogue between nations
A spokesman for the mayor also told La Presse that Coderre visited Tehran not in his capacity as the mayor of Montreal but as president of Metropolis, an association of global cities. Tehran has been a member of Metropolis for over 20 years.
In June, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion said official talks had begun about a resumption of ties, and last month he met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the United Nations in New York.
The below are some photos of Montreal Mayor’s visit to cultural and tourist sites in Tehran
Photos Credit: Shayan Mehrabi, Tehran Picture Agency