Canadian Embassy Closed, in the Name of Iranian People against Them

On September 7th, the Canadian government unexpectedly announced that it would close its embassy in Tehran and cut all diplomatic ties with Iran; at the same time, Canadian authorities gave five days to the Iranian diplomats in Ottawa to leave the country. Mr. Baird, Canada’s foreign affairs minister, offered various reasons for this decision: last November’s attack on the British Embassy in Tehran, “routinely [threatening] the existence of Israel,” Iran’s nuclear program, the Islamic regime’s support for the Assad’s regime in Syria, and the violence of human rights in Iran. This abrupt decision did not find any support among political figures except for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We can see the decision is based on two different categories of reasons: the threats Iran present to global security, like its nuclear program and the dirty language about Israel, and human rights violations in Iran.
The first thing people learn in international relations is not to cut diplomatic ties with any country even during wartime. It is simple; the door toward conversation should be open. Throughout the last thirty years, in a very unusual situation in international relations, Iran and the US have been without any official diplomatic ties. As war talks between two countries have heated up, US General, James Mattis, suggested the necessity of opening a line of communication between the US and Iranian authorities to be able to contact Iranians under some urgent situation in order to prevent from an unwanted accident leading to a disastrous war. While even the countries that go to war keep their embassies open, the Canadian embassy that considers Iran a threat cuts its diplomatic ties. If the situation is that emergent, it is necessary keep the door to conversation open. Otherwise, this decision paves the road for the only other alternative, which is war. It is obvious that when you choose not to talk while you consider a state a threat to the global security, it means you should go to war; interestingly, the only political figure praised this decision was PM Netanyahu who consider a military attack as the only solution to the Iran’s nuclear program.
Regarding the human rights issues in Iran, the Canadian government consistently and rightly has criticized the Islamic Republic over its dreadful human rights record. Closing the embassy in Tehran, however, is no help to the human rights issues in Iran. The first victims of this act are Iranian people who intend to travel to Canada for a number of different reasons, whether medical, familial, or educational. With the embassy closed in Tehran, Iranians who intend to travel to Canada need to go to a third country to apply for a Canadian visa. They must travel to another country to get interviewed in the Canadian embassy there, then going back to Iran and waiting to get the results; it is a very costly and time-consuming process.
Moreover, if more countries follow Canada’s policy and close their embassies, Iran will become increasingly isolated from the international community; the more isolated Iran becomes, the less the Islamic Regime will be accountable to the international community in terms of its human rights policies, as well as security matters that it puts to the global security. For a moment think of North Korea and how it developed its nuclear bomb in the absence of relation with the International community. There are many cases in which Iran has compromised under the pressure from the international community, which includes Canada. One week ago, an Iranian pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, who was on death row over apostasy charges, was released only because of the pressure from the international community. Another case affected by international concerns is that of Sakineh Ashtiani, a woman who was sentenced to death by stoning because of adultery; the Islamic Regime stopped her execution because of heavy international pressure. If Iran gets more isolated by policies like Canada’s, it is going to be less and less accountable to the international community that is expelling it.
Whether for human rights reasons or global security ones, the Canadian act of closing its embassy in Tehran is not justified. Closing the diplomatic road as well as paving the road to war accompanied by isolating Iran, is just going to hurt Iranian people and not the regime. Iranian people who are under the arrest of their own regime are also going to be the victims of foreign states like Canada that are causing more pressure and trouble for these people.

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