The Toronto Star
Tue 04 Dec 2007
Byline: Les Whittington
Canada’s troubled relations with Iran broke out into the open yesterday when Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier announced that Canada’s ambassador to Tehran had been expelled.
The move is "entirely unjustifiable," Bernier said. He suggested the expulsion of Ambassador John Mundy was a tit-for-tat move by the government in Tehran.
Mundy was sent to Tehran last spring but had never been able to officially present his credentials to the Iranian government, a foreign affairs spokesperson said.
"Canada and Iran have tried to come to an agreement on an exchange of ambassadors for some time," Bernier said in a statement.
"Unfortunately, we have as yet been unable to accept the candidates Tehran has submitted. We believe that the expulsion of our ambassador is an unfortunate and unjustified consequence of this situation."
Canada’s ties to Iran have been strained by Tehran’s nuclear aspirations and Ottawa’s demands for answers on the death of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in Iranian custody in 2003. Ottawa is also concerned about Iran’s human rights record.
"Iran has not measured up to our standards for an international relationship for some time," the foreign affairs spokesperson said.
Ottawa will be seeking a full explanation for the expulsion. The Canadian embassy will be headed by the charge d’affaires.
Syed Mahdi Mohebi, who as charge d’affaires represents Iranian interests in Ottawa, recently complained Canada had rejected offers to resume high-level contacts between the two countries.