On the fifth anniversary of the breaking of diplomatic ties with Iran, the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) calls on the Government of Prime Minister Trudeau to fulfill its promise to reestablish diplomatic relations and reopen the Canada-Iran embassies.
Today marks five years since former Prime Minister Stephen Harper broke diplomatic ties with Iran, closed Canada’s embassy in Tehran, and expelled all Iranian diplomats from Ottawa. It also marks 5 years since Iranian-Canadians have been deprived of consular services and 5 years since Canada has been without a diplomatic presence in an important country in the Middle East region.
Before the 2015 federal elections, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised the Iranian-Canadian community that he would reverse Stephen Harper’s failed Iran policy, re-establish relations with Iran, and facilitate the reopening of embassies in Tehran and Ottawa. After the election, the same promise has been reiterated several times by former Foreign Affairs Minister Dion and current Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland. However, nearly 2 years have passed since PM Trudeau was elected and this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Iranian-Canadians are still unable to access basic services and are forced to attempt to access these services at the Iranian interest section in Washington DC, opening them up to possible discrimination at the U.S. border due to travel restrictions imposed by the Trump administration.
In addition to the lack of access to consular services, the lack of diplomatic engagement with Iran is against Canada’s interests in the Middle East, seriously limiting its influence in an important and strategic region. Without diplomatic engagement, Canada is unable to engage with Iran on important regional and international diplomatic issues, such as the joint fight against ISIS. Furthermore, Canada’s absence in Iran has worked against the interests of Canadian businesses who can significantly benefit from economic engagement with Iran.
Many Iranian-Canadians rightfully expect their Prime Minister and Minister Chrystia Freeland to fulfil their promise. In fact nearly 16,000 people across Canada have signed a formal parliamentary petition calling on the Government of Canada to re-establish diplomatic relations and reopen the embassies as a matter of utmost importance. On this 5th year anniversary of the closure of the embassies the Iranian Canadian Congress therefore reminds the Government of Canada about this important promise to the Iranian Canadian community and calls on the government once more to re-engage with Iran and to move forward in reopening the embassies.