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Ex-ambassador to Iran criticizes Canada embassy closure

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Canada’s last ambassador to Iran John Mundy has sharply criticized his government for its abrupt severance of ties with the Islamic Republic.

“Canada’s action reduces our presence on the ground in Iran to zero. We will no longer have the ability to communicate directly with Iran’s government in Iran,” Mundy wrote in a column published in the Globe and Mail on Monday.

Canada announced on Friday that it is closing its embassy in Iran and asked the Iranian diplomats to leave the Canadian soil within five days.

The Canadian government has also frozen the bank accounts of many Iranian nationals living in Canada and banned money transfers to Iran.

Mundy, who served as ambassador in Tehran up to 2007, lambasted the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper for not offering convincing reasons for the embassy shutdown.

“Canada’s reasons for acting so suddenly are not convincing. Iran seems as surprised by our action as other countries are. In the absence of… concrete information the question remains why have we taken this drastic action and in particular, why now?”

The former diplomat called on the Canadian parliament to put the issue to debate. “Our opposition parties should move for an immediate debate in Parliament on our foreign policy towards Iran so that the Canadian people know where the government is leading us.”

“The government should explain how it sees a peaceful resolution of the nuclear [energy] issue with Iran given that [it] believes further diplomacy to be futile…. Our policy towards Iran is the first time in decades that a Canadian prime minister has acted to reduce the diplomatic opportunities for peace during a crisis,” wrote Mundy, currently Visiting Associate at the Center for International Policy Studies, University of Ottawa.

Mundy also held out the possibility of Harper government’s commitment to Israel in its threats of military strike on Iran. “Has the Canadian government decided to provide this type of support to Israel and seeing the danger to our diplomats, acted to pull them out in advance?…Parliament should know how committed Canada is to Israel, particularly in the event of [possible] Israeli military actions.”


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