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article imageOp-Ed: Canada line on Iran deal echoes that of Israel

By Ken Hanly     Nov 26, 2013 in Politics
The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird claimed he is "deeply skeptical" of the deal reached on the weekend to dampen down Iran's nuclear program in exchange for some relaxation in sanctions.
The Globe and Mail claims: Striking a distinctly harsher tone than its closest allies, Canada is balking at lifting any of its sanctions against Iran until the Islamic regime fully abandons its nuclear weapons’ ambitions. Just what sort of objective journalism is this? The statement simply assumes that Iran actually has nuclear weapons' ambitions. It may but that is certainly not proven even if suspected and some evidence points to this. There is no qualification at all in the Globe statement. There is no mention that Iran denies that it has nuclear weapons ambitions.
While the Canadian statement does not resort to the alarmist rhetoric of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who calls the deal a "historic mistake" in effect the refusal to provide any relief from Canadian sanctions is to reject the deal rather than just expressing skepticism. This is in keeping with Canada's position as being a great friend of Israel. The Times of Israel points out many examples of Canadian moves in support of Israel and a couple of recent events:In September 2012, Canada severed diplomatic relations with Iran. Foreign Minister John Baird explained the move, by saying the regime in Tehran, among other things, “routinely threatens the existence of Israel.”
When Jerusalem punished the Palestinians for the statehood bid by announcing to build homes in the controversial E1 corridor east of Jerusalem, the whole world forcefully condemned the plans. Except the Canadians: the government merely noted that such steps aren’t “helpful.”
John Baird and Harper the prime minister are good conservatives and rather than praise Obama and his deal support opposition conservatives in the US many of whom are pro-Israel and support the Israeli objections to the plan. Baird said of the Canadian position: “We have made-in-Canada foreign policy, We think past actions best predict future actions, and Iran has defied the United Nations Security Council and defied the International Atomic Energy Agency. Simply put: Iran has not earned the right to have the benefit of the doubt.”
So have the US and Israel earned the benefit of the doubt from an Iranian perspective. The US probably with Israeli help leashed Stuxnet in two versions to launch a cyber attack on Iran's centrifuges used in their nuclear program. Several nuclear scientists have been assassinated. There have been numerous threats of attacks on their nuclear facilities if they do not give in to western demands. The CIA helped overthrow the democratically elected Iranian government of Mossadegh:Mosaddegh was removed from power in a coup on 19 August 1953, organised and carried out by the CIA at the request of MI6, which chose Iranian General Fazlollah Zahedi to succeed Mosaddegh.[8]
Baird goes on to stress the dangers of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons: “A nuclear Iran is not just a threat to Canada, or its allies. It would also seriously damage the integrity of decades of work for nuclear non-proliferation. It would provoke other neighbouring states to develop their own nuclear deterrent.” However, this is a red herring since the agreement actually freezes Iran's nuclear development so that it cannot move further towards making a nuclear weapon. Unmentioned too in Baird's discourse is Israel's own clandestine development of nuclear weapons and failure to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
The NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar was critical of Baird's position saying that Canada should be involved by working with allies to use the lure of reduced sanctions so that Iran would change.
John Mundy who was Canada's most recent ambassador to Iran claims that Canada's position is not all that different from the US and other allies in spite of the harsh rhetoric. Mundy sees the problem as does Dewar in the fact that Canada closed its embassy in Tehran and now has no "functioning relationship" with Iran. The closing of the embassy hurt many Iranian-Canadians he claims. Mr. Mundy said: “Canada has taken itself out of international diplomacy towards Iran. It’s becoming harder and harder to understand Canadian policy towards Iran.” But not all Canadian allies relate in the same way to Iran and Canada takes an extremely hostile and belligerent pose which echoes that of Israel.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay speaking in Halifax carried on the skepticism line of Baird. He said that a key question is whether Iranian President Rouhani could be trusted to carry out the terms of the agreement and he asked: “Does Rouhani even have the mandate to really carry through whatever those details and promises might be?” One could ask just as well whether Obama has the mandate to carry out the deal given the opposition he faces in the US. I have appended an Iranian TV take on Baird' statements.
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
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