IranNorth AmericaQasem Suleimani

Iran to Canada: US’s top sanctions enforcer better stop HR brag

Iran warns Canada to be accountable for its role as the prime abettor of the US’s sanctions against the Islamic Republic rather than throw irresponsible and groundless blames at the country under the guise of human rights advocacy.

“A government that has done its utmost to block transfer of medicine to Iran is in no position to take a podium and speak about human rights,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in Tehran on Monday.

“Canada has provided most cooperation with the White House to prevent shipment of medicine to the Iranian nation,” he added, addressing a weekly press briefing that was being held via a video conference.

“I warn the Canadian foreign minister and government to be accountable for their actions,” the spokesman said.

Khatibzadeh’s reprimand came less than a week after remarks by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne concerning the Islamic Republic.

Speaking to CBC News Network, Champagne alleged that he did not believe that the mistaken downing of a Ukrainian airliner by Iran’s air defenses in January “can be blamed on human error.”

Ottawa lays strong claim to upholding human rights and regularly accuses Iran of violating universal principles.

Champagne also said he was concerned about the quality of information that was to be released by the Islamic Republic in the form of an investigative report on the tragedy.

An Iranian air defense unit mistakenly shot down Flight 752 of the Ukrainian International Airlines that month shortly after take-off from Tehran en route to Kiev.

The operator had mistaken the Boeing 737-800 with a cruise missile at a time when the air defense systems were at the highest level of alert following the United States’ earlier assassination of prominent Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

Khatibzadeh said Canadian officials have been coming up with such “meddlesome and unacceptable” remarks since the immediate aftermath of the plane crash.

“They have engaged in most obstructive measures, despite not having any distinct legal position” on the matter, he said.

The spokesman called such remarks “politically-charged,” expressing regret that Canadian politicians were seeking to exploit the issue.

“I invite the Canadian foreign minister and government to observe diplomatic manners and know their limits and positions,” Khatibzadeh said, “Otherwise they will receive a different response.”

‘Technical report ready’

Khatibzadeh said Iran had not missed a single date in completing its investigation into the tragedy with the help of all of its relevant bodies in line with its domestic and international responsibilities.

He said the technical report that has resulted from the investigation was ready and due to be released “today or tomorrow,” adding that the Ukrainian side and the other concerned parties would be sent a copy online.

Iran’s entire official apparatus, including the Foreign Ministry, has been left distressed by the tragedy, the spokesperson said.

He pledged that the country was expending all of its efforts to ensure maximum transparency in matters related to the incident, and would even complain to the International Court of Justice if it were not satisfied with the investigative process and punishment of those who were responsible for the tragedy.

Possible US return to JCPOA

Separately, the official addressed recent remarks by Jack Sullivan, US President-elect Joe Biden’s national security advisor-designate, that Washington considered rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers to be a “feasible and achievable” option.

He said he had to examine Sullivan’s remarks in more detail, but any potential resumption by the United States of its international commitments under the deal “has to manifest itself in action, not just in words.”

Khatibzadeh reminded that the US is in egregious violation of its obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 that has endorsed the nuclear accord, and has to return to its contractual obligations.

Washington left the agreement that is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018, despite the multi-party nature of the deal and its enshrinement as a Security Council’s ratification. It then returned the draconian sanctions that the JCPOA had lifted.

Iran, in return, started a set of nuclear countermeasures, and announced following General Soleimani’s assassination that it no longer recognized the limits that it was supposed to implement under the agreement.

However, Khatibzadeh said, “If the opposite side returned to its commitments, we would reverse the reduction in our commitments too.”

European Parliament’s measure ‘one-sided’

The official, meanwhile, denounced the European Parliament’s recent resolution that supposedly sanctioned a number of Iranian officials, whom the European legislature accused of violating human rights.

In the resolution, the European body criticized Iran’s recent execution of Rouhollah Zam, a recognized Western-affiliated anti-Iran propagandist, who used to engage in extensive subversive measures against the Islamic establishment and the Iranian nation.

Khatibzadeh called the measure “one-sided, hackneyed, threadbare, and unacceptable,” questioning how the EP had passed such a measure, while failing all the time to either denounce the US economic war on Iran and prevent European countries from abetting the warfare.

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