Monday, 13 January, 2020

Iranian and Canadian FMs meet for first time since relations severed in 2012

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has met his Canadian counterpart Stéphane Dion on Tuesday for the first time since Tehran and Ottawa severed relations in 2012.

The meeting was held on the sideline of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

‘The talks addressed status of relations between two countries in context of Middle East as well as consular cases’, Dion tweeted on Wednesday.

Zarif arrived in New York on Tuesday morning along with a high ranking delegation chaired by President Hassan Rouhani who is to attend the 71st United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

During the election campaign, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau made it known that if he was elected he would seek to re-engage with Iran, not because disagreements were over between the two countries, but because diplomatic isolation was ineffective, he argued.

In February, Stéphane Dion began that process, announcing the government would amend “broad-reaching autonomous sanctions against Iran to allow for a controlled economic re-engagement, including lifting the broad ban on financial services, imports and exports.”

Other sanctions related to nuclear proliferation and ballistic missiles have remained in place.

In June, Dion said talks between the two countries have started and that things would proceed step by step “at the official level, in neutral territory.”

Canadian ex-Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s administration severed diplomatic relations with Iran in September 2012, citing, among other pretexts, what it described as continued threats from Iran to Israel.

Back then, the Canadian government closed its embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and demanded that Iranian diplomats leave Canada within five days.

The two countries maintain interest sections in the embassies of third countries.


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