September 07, 2012

Canada Breaks Off Relations w/ State Sponsor of Terror

And who would that be? Iran. This is big. Very big. From the Canadian Foreign Affairs Office:

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

Canada has closed its embassy in Iran, effective immediately, and declared personae non gratae all remaining Iranian diplomats in Canada.

“Canada’s position on the regime in Iran is well known. Canada views the Government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.

The Iranian regime is providing increasing military assistance to the Assad regime; it refuses to comply with UN resolutions pertaining to its nuclear program; it routinely threatens the existence of Israel and engages in racist anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement to genocide; it is among the world’s worst violators of human rights; and it shelters and materially supports terrorist groups, requiring the Government of Canada to formally list Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act.

“Moreover, the Iranian regime has shown blatant disregard for the Vienna Convention and its guarantee of protection for diplomatic personnel. Under the circumstances, Canada can no longer maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran. Our diplomats serve Canada as civilians, and their safety is our number one priority.

Diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran have been suspended. All Canadian diplomatic staff have left Iran, and Iranian diplomats in Ottawa have been instructed to leave within five days.

“Canadians in Iran seeking routine consular and passport services should contact the Embassy of Canada in Ankara, Turkey, or any other Canadian mission. Those who require urgent assistance should contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa, by calling collect at 613-996-8885 or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

“Canada has updated its Travel Reports and Warnings to advise Canadians to avoid all travel to Iran. Canadians who have Iranian nationality are warned in particular that the Iranian regime does not recognize the principle of dual nationality. By doing so, Iran makes it virtually impossible for Government of Canada officials to provide consular assistance to Iranian-Canadians in difficulty.”

I have mixed feelings about diplomatic responses like this. On the one hand, it sends a positive signal about state sponsors of terror like Iran.

On the other hand, most HUMINT operations are run out of embassies. So, closing an embassy means that many intelligence assets are lost. It's why I've long argued that we should reestablish diplomatic relations with Iran.

Sure, this will embarrass Iran. But do you think Iran really cares that much? Do you think that such diplomatic pressure is really going to make a difference? I don't.

The only saving grace here is that I'm not sure that Canada has much of a foreign intelligence gathering operation going on in Iran as it is. So, closing the embassy probably won't hurt us on that front.

I certainly hope the Brits don't follow suit.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:07 AM | Comments |