Prime Minister Stephen Harper, just a day before the violence in Libya which took the lives of the four Americans, including the ambassador, pushed the button of extremism by closing down the Canadian embassy in Iran.
This decision was announced by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird while on a trip to Vladivostok, Russia.
These events are rich with irony.
At the time, Baird claimed the closure was due to Iran’s support of the murderous Bakhtiar-Assad regime in Syria. Fair enough.
However, the irony is that the nation Baird was in at the time, Russia, along with another one of our top trading partners, China, have both been, by far, the strongest supporters of Syria in the world.
For Harper to now claim that we closed our embassy in Iran due to security concerns – the closure was necessary because of fears of potential violence and threats to diplomatic staff have happened there in the past “at the instigation of the government” – is more than ironic. More like self-serving, if not downright duplicitous.
Claiming “overwhelming support by Canadians,” the PM is using Iran as a whipping boy for his extreme tilt toward pro-American and pro-Israeli policies.
Who now is our foreign minister – the Israeli prime minister?
This action effectively prevents over 400,000 Canadian residents of Iranian descent from having contact with the home embassy.
More than this, Iran has not shown, at least prior to the assassination of the U.S. ambassador in Libya, actions which have put Canadian embassy staff at risk.
At this sensitive moment in world history, when the Middle East is in flames over a ridiculous lack of appreciation for the sensitivities of Muslims’ reverence for Mohammad, and the overreaction to this by extremist Shiite Moslems, it is a sad day, indeed, when our government, long a voice of reason, civility and communication between all aggrieved peoples of the world, should choose to fan the flames of hatred and intolerance by closing the doors of our embassy with Iran.
Iran, a nation with problems, yes, but a nation with a very well educated people, a people who want communication with the outside world, a nation with whom Canada has had a long and generally respectful relationship.
At a time when the world needs leadership – from leaders who will stand and deliver both admonitions and sensitive commentary on the need for more, not less, communication – it is sad, indeed, that Harper has chosen to exacerbate an already tense situation by closing our embassy in Tehran.
Steven Faraher-Amidon, Surrey