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News number: 9106062960

14:18 | 2012-09-11

Foriegn Policy

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Spokesman Raps Canada's "Irrelevant" Remarks on Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian foreign ministry slammed the Canadian government for its "irrelevant" statements on Iran, and described the decision to close the Canadian embassy in Tehran as a "hasty and illogical" move.

"The issues they have raised are completely irrelevant and merely endanger their own national interests," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said in his weekly press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.

Mehman-Parast said that the Canadian government's closing its mission in Tehran and expelling the Iranian diplomats from the country was a "hasty, illogical and amateur" move.

"Given the fact that the Canadian government adopted the measure unilaterally, it is responsible for protecting our diplomats, their health and Iran's diplomatic places in the country and they should act responsibly in this regard," he stressed.

Five Canadian diplomats left Iran on Friday and closed the embassy in a sudden move, suspending ties with Tehran.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, at the Asia-Pacific summit in Vladivostok, Russia, said the move was a response to Iran's support for the Syrian government.

The two sides already had low-level diplomatic ties that made it almost impossible for them to do useful work.

Government sources said that Canadian diplomats in Iran had almost no contact for years with Iranian officials. That reduced the value of the diplomacy at an embassy with an annual budget of about $7-million, an official said.

Canada has not had a full ambassador in Iran since 2007, after several disputes, leaving the embassy to a chargé d'affaires.

Canada's last full ambassador to Tehran, John Mundy cautioned Ottawa that cutting off diplomatic ties is a "grave step" that's not easily repaired - and now Canada cannot have any dialogue with Iran, provide consular services to Canadians in distress or gather its own analysis of what is happening there.

In Tehran, several politicians and MPs welcomed the severance of ties with Canada, saying that Tehran should have taken such an action and the relations should have been cut off much earlier.

Chairman of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi condemned Ottawa's decision to recall its diplomats from Tehran, and said the move had been devised by London and later dictated to the Canadian officials.

"Given the fact that Canada is a country supervised by the UK and its governor is appointed by the British queen and all the important decisions by the country's governor are taken by the (British) queen and in coordination with her, it is natural that Ottawa is not pleased with the closure of the British embassy in Tehran (by the Iranian officials in 2011)," he told FNA on Saturday.

"Certainly, the British government seeks to push its allies to the same way that it had paved to counter Iran; therefore, this decision (of Ottawa) was actually a blind obedience (to Britain) by the Canadian government," Boroujerdi added.

Also, Zohreh Tabibzadeh, another Iranian legislator downplayed Canada's decision, and said, "Canada has not so much economic and political power and credibility on the international scene therefore, cutting our ties with them is not so much important."