Netanyahu praises embassy closure, Canada’s ‘forthright stand’ against Iran

Canada will keep trying to aid its citizens in Iran — including three on death-row — with the help of its partners and allies, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Sunday, in the wake of Ottawa’s decision last week to sever ties with the Islamic Republic.
But Mr. Harper did not hold out much hope that anything significant could be accomplished.
“The reality is our influence and that of our partners on Iran is minimal,” the prime minister said in French at the end of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Vladivostok, Russia.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird made the unexpected announcement late last week to cut diplomatic relations with Iran, officially designating the nation as a state sponsor of terrorism and labelling its government “the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.”
Mr. Harper elaborated on the decision, hinting at the potential pitfalls of maintaining diplomacy with Iran, believed by the West and Israel to be operating a clandestine nuclear program aimed at developing atomic weapons.
“We have terminated our diplomatic presence there precisely because we are concerned by the behaviour and the capacity for increasingly bad behaviour of the government of Iran,” Mr. Harper said.
Mr. Harper’s comments in Russia followed condemnation of his government’s moves and motivations from the Iranian regime this weekend.
“The current government of Canada under the leadership of Mr. Stephen Harper is known for extreme policies in the domain of foreign policy,” the Mehr news agency quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying. “The hostile behaviour of the current racist government in Canada in reality follows the policies dictated by the Zionists [Israel] and the British.”
Canada’s decision to expel Iranian diplomats and cut all official ties in Iran was the result of what Mehmanprast called “hostile behaviour” that had been encouraged, he said, by Israel and Britain.
Iran was harshly condemned by Mr. Harper in Vladivostok for developing what he believes to be military nuclear capability, for its anti-Semitic and genocidal threats against Israel and for its arming of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.
We know this is a country that does not stop at anything. That is just the reality of the situation
“Do I anticipate specific actions? No, not necessarily,” Mr. Harper said, when discussing possible Iranian reprisals against Canada for having cut diplomatic ties. “But we know this is a country that does not stop at anything. That is just the reality of the situation…Nothing [Iran might do] would surprise me. That is all the more reason why it is essential that our Canadian personnel no longer be present.”
On Sunday, Mr. Baird declared that the surprise decision to close the Canadian embassy in Iran was not rooted in any known military threat. “I can confirm that we have no knowledge whatsoever of any outside military action, whether it’s from the United States or from Israel,” Mr. Baird told CTV’s Question Period.
In an interview with CBC’s The National that was set to air Sunday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his support for Canada’s actions.
“I deeply appreciate the position and conviction that was taken by Prime Minister Harper and the government of Canada,” Mr. Netanyahu said, according to the CBC. “I think everyone in Israel appreciates its forthright stand against a regime that brutalizes its own people, that colludes in the murder of tens of thousands in Syria, that denies the Holocaust and calls for the eradication of the state of Israel while pursuing an illicit program for developing nuclear weapons.
“I think that it’s particularly important at this time Canada took a real position and said this can’t go on.”

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