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News number: 9106063192

16:02 | 2012-09-12

Foriegn Policy

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Canadian Media Blast Gov't for Cutting Ties with Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Last week's decision by the Harper government to break diplomatic ties with Iran was a knee-jerk, hypocritical decision that looks like a sop to "Israel-first, Canada-later" voters in swing ridings, Canadian media said.

The decision, however, is unlikely to affect the debate in Israel. The decision also seems to help those in the United States who are beating the drums for war on Iran. As usual, they pose as champions of freedom, the spec said in a commentary.

The writer said he is not fond of the Islamic Republic, but adores it for toppling the former "Pahlavi repressive regime, run by the Shah, a US puppet", adding that "Iran is surrounded by repressive regimes, also fast friends of the US, such as Saudi Arabia".

The commentary then points to Iran's confrontation with the US and nationalization of the Iranian oil industry back in the 1950s. Iran's oil was controlled by British companies since colonial times. In 1953, the US and Britain overthrew Iran's democratic government after it nationalized Anglo-Iranian Oil. They installed the Shah, who promptly reversed the nationalization and transferred most of the oil rights to US companies.

After the 1979 revolution, Iran came under siege by the US. Had the Islamic republic allowed the oil revenues to keep flowing abroad, they would probably have been praised like the Shah, Saudi princes, Hosni Mubarak, Saddam Hussein (while he behaved), and other dictators sponsored by the US.

Here is the rest of the commentary:
Let us turn to some reasons offered by Canada's Foreign Affairs minister John Baird for cutting ties with Iran. I shall contrast relevant aspects of the US and Canadian record.

Baird says that Iran violated the Vienna convention on consular relations. So too has the US, blatantly.

In 1999, Arizona put to death a German citizen named Walter LaGrand. It did so shortly after the International Court of Justice asked the US to suspend the execution so the court could consider an international complaint by Germany. The US federal government did little to discourage the execution. Later, the international court found that the US had violated the Vienna Convention by failing to give LaGrand, along with others on death row, proper access to consular advice.

Baird says further that Iran gives military assistance to Syria's Assad government. Not long ago, US and Canadian agencies supplied Syrian Military Intelligence with questions for prisoners labeled terrorist. Recall also that Saudi Arabia's government has armed the menacing elements of Syria's opposition, shortly after it invaded Bahrain to suppress that country's Arab Spring.

Baird says that Iran supports a terrorist organization, Hezbollah. This is another label. Hezbollah was founded in the 1980s to resist an Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon. Just six countries, led by Israel and the US, have classified Hezbollah as terrorist. They call Hezbollah terrorist for resistance against Israel, while, the US-backed death squads terrorized Central America in the 1980s and 1990s. The death squads killed tens of thousands of civilians.

And, the death squads recently returned to Central America after the military coup in Honduras in 2009. Nearly every country in the hemisphere condemned the military junta. The Harper government supported it from early days. In 2011, it even inked a trade deal with the Generals.

Baird says finally that Iran ignores human rights. Perhaps the most heinous international crime is to wage an unlawful war. The (United States and allies') illegal invasion of Iraq led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. It caused untold suffering and destroyed a country. It ruined the status of Iraqi women and left mass deformities in newborns.

Stephen Harper, we should recall, supported the war on Iraq. He gave cover for US right-wingers then, and his government is giving cover for them now on Iran.

These examples are not meant to compare Iran, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and the US. History is complex, like the world. The point is that Baird's charges against Iran are vague, simplistic, and easily manipulated.

For decades, Canada was respected for its balance and decency in international affairs. We supported peace and diplomacy and were not so beholden to the US, let alone the crazed crowd that now dominates the Republican Party.

If Canada was once a boy scout, we are becoming the noisy sidekick of a schoolyard bully.