Canada closed its Tehran embassy and vowed to expel Iranian diplomats Friday, slamming Iran’s support for the Syrian regime and threats against Israel and expressing concern for the mission’s safety.
“Canada’s position on the regime in Iran is well known. Canada views the Government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said, according to AFP.
Baird cited Iran’s nuclear program, its hostility towards Israel and Iranian military assistance to the government of President Bashar al-Assad Syria, which is locked in civil war with rebels.
“Under the circumstances, Canada can no longer maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran … Diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran have been suspended,” Baird said in a statement, accusing Iran of showing blatant disregard for the safety of foreign diplomats, according to Reuters.
Ottawa has long had poor relations with Iran, in part because of its enmity towards close Canadian ally Israel.
The United States has not had a functioning embassy in Tehran since the hostage crisis of 1979. Britain’s embassy in Tehran has been closed since it was stormed by protesters last November.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague urged the European Union on Friday to impose new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, as Israel continues to threaten military action.
He did not specify what form any new sanctions would take or whether the ministers would discuss the issue in detail.
The EU implemented its latest round of sanctions on Iran in July, banning oil imports from the Islamic Republic. The United States is applying increasing diplomatic pressure around the world to isolate the Iranian economy.