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Canada is acting quickly and foolishly in ending relations with Iran

This past Friday, the Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird, announced that Canada was closing its embassy in Iran and that all Iranian officials currently in Canada had five days to leave the country. This rather rash decision seemed to come out of proverbial left-field and has seriously hurt the credibility of the Canadian Foreign Minister and the Canadian government, a government already lacking in the foreign policy department.

The official reasons provided by Minister Baird is that Iran is engaged in “racist anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement to genocide,” as well as being the “most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.”

Mr. Baird’s reasons are extremely poor — not in that they may or may not be false, but in the fact that Iran’s anti-Israeli/anti-Semitic rhetoric has been going on for years. There is absolutely nothing new about it. Calling Iran the most significant threat to global security is a far stretch, considering that the armed forces of Iran pose no serious threat to any western power that may wish to engage in combat with the Islamic Republic.

So the question that begs is, what other possible reasons could there be? A show of willpower and force is not likely it, though the Harper government enjoys showing itself off as being “tough”; tough on crime and tough on global “criminals”. The only thing the Harper government is really tough on is the wallet of the middle-class.

Perhaps the Harper government wishes to show its support for Israel, which has been chomping at the bit to lets its war machine loose on Iran. Canada has always been a pro-Israeli nation, a fact that can cause ‘tough’ governments to act blindly and rashly in support of Israel. But really, supporting Israel and being a friend to its citizens should also come with a duty to advise the so-called friend that their aggressive rhetoric may in fact be the greater threat to peace than the targeted “bad guy,” be it Syria, Lebanon, or Iran.

Of course, the Harper government could be attempting to cozy up to the Americans by joining the United States in its many attempts at isolating the “evil” Iranians. More than anything, this is likely the actual reason. Why the government feels a need to sleaze its way into the good books of the Americans in such a manner is rather incomprehensible. After all, our neighbours to the south are not likely to hate us as long as we have oil to give them. And eventually even they will forget that we did not play ball on an issue or two. Yet, can Canadians really expect too much from Minister Baird or his boss Harper?

It is sad to see Canada’s reputation as a mediator and a nation of soft-diplomacy, with an occasional bite, be wasted by such foolishly and rashly made decisions. The diplomatic channels between nations should be the last item to be discarded. If communication is key in a relationship, then the Canadian-Iranian one is definitely headed for a very messy divorce.

Sebastian Prost
Contributor

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