“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.”
This is the opening line from Tony Burman’s op-ed piece which was published today in Toronto’s Star newspaper.
The piece which was featured on the front page of the Star goes on to explain that one of the main reasons why the Iranian embassy in Ottawa was closed was because of Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s closeness to the Netanyahu government.
Is this true? Quite possibly.
But it would not be accurate to say that this is the only reason.
Canada and Iran have not had diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level since 2007. Their relations have been at Consular level only.
This was because of a number of reasons. A prominent one being the killing of the Canadian – Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi by the Iranian regime’s intelligence agents. In fact Iran over the years has jailed a number of Canadian – Iranians, without giving the Canadian government access to visit them. Two of them are on death row on politically motivated charges.
At the same time, it can not be denied that the Harper government is the most pro – Israeli government in Canada’s recent history. And if this was the biggest reason why it decided to close Iran’s embassy in Canada then Netanyahu will consider it at the very least as settling scores with the Iranian government over Mauritania.
According to reports, in 2009 Iran provided the Mauritanian government with $10 million worth of aid. One of the conditions was the closure of the Israeli embassy on its soil . This was a blow to Israel as Mauritania was the third Arab country ever to agree to have an embassy in Israel and an Israeli embassy on its soil.
Now Netanyahu has returned the favor.
This can be considered a major victory for Netanyahu. Canada is an important country. Closing of the Iranian embassy will be a blow to Khamenei’s government at a time when it’s becoming increasingly isolated.
Israel’s prime minister will probably want to frame Tony Burman’s op-ed and put it on his wall.