September 9, 2012
Sudden stop: Canada cuts ties with Iran, closes embassy, orders diplomats home
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird delivered a diplomatic bolt from the blue Friday, abruptly and unexpectedly severing ties with Iran, shuttering Canada's embassy there and giving Iranian diplomats in Ottawa five days to get out of the country.
Baird rattled off a litany of long-standing grievances with Iran during a news conference in the Russian city of Vladivostok, where he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are participating in this weekend's meeting of Asia Pacific Co-operation leaders.
"The Iranian regime has shown blatant disregard for the Vienna Convention and its guarantee of protection for diplomatic personnel," said Baird, adding that the government on Friday formally listed Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
"Under the circumstances, Canada can no longer maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran. Our diplomats serve Canada as civilians, and their safety is our No. 1 priority."