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Iran Says Canada’s Decision to Suspend Ties ‘Unjustifiable’

Canada’s decision to suspend diplomatic relations with Iran is “unprofessional, unconventional and unjustifiable,” Iranian state television reported, citing the country’s foreign ministry.

The suspension violates international law and Canada is responsible for the safety of expelled Iranian diplomats, Iran’s ministry said in the statement, according to state TV’s website.

Iran’s parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani canceled a trip to Canada in protest over the decision to cut diplomatic ties, the state-run Fars agency reported without saying where it got the information. A delegation including Larijani was to attend a meeting of legislators from various countries scheduled in October, according to the Fars report published yesterday.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Sept. 7 his country is suspending diplomatic relations with Iran and designating the country as a sponsor of terrorism. Canada will close its embassy in Tehran and expel Iranian diplomats from Canada, Baird told reporters in Vladivostok, Russia.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Baird cited Iran’s alleged military assistance for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, its hostility toward Israel and its disputed nuclear activities.

Israel welcomed the decision. “I call on the international community, at least its responsible members, to follow in the determined path of Canada and set moral red lines and actions where it concerns Iran, lines that will stop its race for nuclear weapons,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today at the start of the Cabinet meeting, according to an e-mail from his office.

The U.S. has limited dealings with Iran since 1979, when militants took 52 hostages at the American embassy in Tehran. The United Nations levied four sets of sanctions against Iran starting in 2006. The European Union embargoed Iranian oil imports from the start of July.

Iran says its nuclear program is solely intended for civilian purposes.

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