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article imageOp-Ed: Former ambassador criticizes Canada's break with Iran

By Ken Hanly     Sep 8, 2012 in Politics
Ottawa - John Mundy former Canadian ambassador to Iran said that breaking off relations with Iran is a strategic mistake at a time when the international community needs to know what is going on in the country.
John Mundy is a retired Canadia diplomat who was sent as ambassador to Iran in 2007. He wonders why Canada is cutting ties to Iran when the international community needs more not less information about what is going on. Of course the ambassador does not mention that the closing of the embassy will make it difficult for Iranians in Canada to make arrangements to return to Iran or for Iranians to come to Canada. The Canadian role in Iran is no doubt to spy as we have done previously.
Consider this report from the Globe and Mail:
Ken Taylor, the Canadian diplomat celebrated 30 years ago for hiding U.S. embassy personnel during the Iranian revolution, actively spied for the Americans and helped them plan an armed incursion into the country.
Mundy also points out that closing the embassy also will make it difficult for Canada to play any role as an international player in any negotiated deal to prevent Iran from making and deploying nuclear weapons. Mundy, who is a visiting associate at the Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa, said:“It’s a grave step and it can’t easily be reversed...I know from experience it’s very, very tough to understand what’s going on in the country.” Mundy suggested that Prime Minister Harper might be preparing Canadians to support a military strike against Iran. Mundy had written earlier:“This is the first time in decades that a Canadian prime minister, Liberal or Conservative, appears to be advocating approaches that reduce diplomatic opportunities for peace during an international crisis,”
Canada has obviously given up any possible role as mediator in a negotiated and peaceful resolution. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird referred to the security of Canadian diplomats as a reason for closing the embassy now. But why now and not earlier? Is this a sign that there is to be an imminent attack by Israel.?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised the Canadian decision. Mundy hoped that there would be a debate in the house about Canadian foreign policy towards Iran. While that is a good idea, it is unlikely to change the Conservative government's love affair with Israel. Harper has repeated the sort of alarmist rhetoric that Israel also uses in describing Iran. In an interview with the CBC Harper said:“I’ve watched and listened to what the leadership in the Iranian regime says, and it frightens me...In my judgment, these are people who have a fanatically religious worldview..Their statements imply to me no hesitation of using nuclear weapons if they see them achieving their religious or political purposes.”
Of course Harper sees nothing amiss with Israel having nuclear weapons or attacking Iran or assassinating its nuclear scientists, or infecting centrifuges with viruses.This is all legitimate pre-emptive self-defense. If Iran used nuclear weapons against Israel it would be wiped off the map. I doubt that Iran is interested in mass martyrdom.
Mundy is not the only critic of Harper's breaking off relations with Iran. Writing inThe Star Tony Burman jokes:
Although his swearing-in at Rideau Hall must have happened in the dead of night, Canada appears to have a new foreign minister. His name is Benjamin Netanyahu. His day job may be prime minister of Israel, but Canada’s abrupt actions against Iran seem to confirm that the Harper government’s outsourcing of Canada’s Middle East policy to Jerusalem is now complete.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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