(CTV) Prime Minister Stephen Harper has elaborated on his government’s decision to sever diplomatic ties with Iran, saying he’s grown increasingly concerned about the safety of Canadian diplomats there.
“This is a regime that among its many wrongs does not respect normal practices of diplomatic immunity and protection,” Harper told reporters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vladivostok, Russia.
Canada shuttered its embassy in Tehran and expelled Iranian diplomats in Ottawa Friday as Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird formally listed Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Harper said he’s become progressively more worried about the safety of Canadian diplomats in Iran since an attack on the British embassy in Tehran last year.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran accused Canada on Saturday of "hostile behavior" under Israeli and British influence after Ottawa cut diplomatic relations, and it raised the prospect of swift retaliation.
Canada said on Friday that it was closing its embassy in Tehran and gave Iranian diplomats five days to leave the country, branding the Islamic Republic as the "most significant threat to global peace and security".
Ottawa cited Iran's disputed nuclear work, which Western states see as a disguised effort to develop atomic bombs, its hostility toward Israel and alleged military aid to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is battling a popular uprising.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the Canadian move was a "continuation of anti-Iranian policies" by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government, which has long had poor relations with Tehran.
"The current government of Canada under the leadership of Mr Stephen Harper is known for extreme policies in the domain of foreign policy," Mehr news agency quoted 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."