Canadian officials on Wednesday announced that Canada would cease all trade with Iran. At issue are a range of Iranian policies and atrocities, ranging from human rights abuses to Iran’s continued violation of U.N. resolutions demanding that it reduce the opacity around its atomic program:
“The absence of progress … leads Canada to ban effectively immediately all imports and exports from Iran,” Baird told reporters… “Canada continues to have grave and sincere concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, and their abhorrent human rights record and their continued support for international terrorism around the world,” Baird said. Statistics Canada data for 2012 shows exports to Iran were worth around C$95 million, mostly in the form of cereals, oil seeds and fruit as well as chemical products and some machinery. Iranian exports totaled C$40 million with fruits, nuts and textiles dominating.
Canada unofficially suspended ties with the Islamic republic following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and sent an ambassador to Tehran only in 1996.
In 2003 the Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was killed in Iranian custody, further straining ties. By last year Canada had severed relations with Tehran, shuttering its embassy in the country and expelling Iranian diplomats from Ottawa.
In response, Iran blasted Canada for… extremism:
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has slammed Canada’s unilateral decision to sever ties with Tehran calling it a “non-professional, unconventional and unjustifiable” move. In a statement released on Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry has described the decision as “an abuse of international law” saying that Canada is responsible for the safety of the Iranian diplomats. The Iranian Foreign Ministry added that the government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is known for adopting “extremist and failed policies.”
Iran’s state-controlled Press TV on the issue:
[Photo: Andrew Rusk / Flickr]