Canada says will normalize relations with Iran ‘in a speedy fashion’
Canada says it will move to quickly normalize relations with Iran and lift the sanctions it has imposed against Tehran in order not to miss the business opportunities that have arisen following the recent implementation of Tehran’s landmark nuclear agreement with six world powers.
Addressing the parliament on Tuesday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion said Ottawa would act “in a speedy fashion” to normalize ties and remove economic sanctions against Iran, but he did not provide a timeline.
Dion also said Canada will reopen its embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran; the diplomatic mission had been closed by the previous Canadian government in 2012. The administration of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper severed diplomatic ties with Iran in September 2012, citing, among other pretexts, what it described as continued threats from Iran to its ally, Israel.
Criticizing the move, Dion said Harper’s administration was wrong to cut off diplomatic relations with such an important player in the Middle East, according to The Globe and Mail.
“With the misleading approach of the former government, Canada is not in Iran,” the Canadian foreign minister said, adding, “It is good for nobody. We will change this policy.”
The announcement came less than two weeks after the enforcement of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iran and the P5+1 – the US, Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany – had reached the JCPOA in July 2015. The deal went into force on January 16, its “Implementation Day.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Dion said the removal of the sanctions would allow Canadian companies, including its aircraft maker Bombardier Inc, to join American and European firms now rushing to grab business opportunities in Iran.
Earlier in January, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had assumed office in November 2015, expressed openness to reviving diplomatic relations with Iran.