Canada appeases Israel on Iran

by Kaveh Afrasiabi (source: Asia Times)
Monday, September 10, 2012

On Friday, the conservative and strongly pro-Israel government in Canada announced that it was cutting off diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran and put the Middle East country on its list of "terror-sponsoring" states, a move that instantly won the praise and admiration of Israeli leaders and condemnation from Tehran, as well as many Iranians living in Canada, who are now impacted by the absence of counselor service.

Intent on achieving maximum global attention, the decision was announced by Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird when attending the summit of Pacific Rim nations, citing Iran as "the most significant threat to global peace and security", ie, a direct jab at the 120 nations of the Non-Aligned Movement who recently gathered in Tehran for a summit (under the theme of "sustainable peace under shared global management") and bestowed Iran with NAM's leadership for the next three years.

In light of Baird's failed attempt to convince the UN secretary general not to attend the NAM summit, Tehran has reacted to this sudden decision, which does not cite any intelligence finding on any imminent Iranian threat, as a favor to Israel and a reaction to Iran's diplomatic coup at the summit, widely regarded in Western media as a "major setback" for Western strategy of isolating Iran.

The Canadian government's action has been called into question by a growing number of Canadian experts and academics, who have pointed out that even the United Kingdom did not go to this extreme after an attack on its embassy in Tehran. John Mundy, former Canadian ambassador to Iran, has stated that breaking off relations is a strategic mistake. On the other hand, as expected, the government's mouthpieces have been busy rationalizing this uncalled-for decision, which clearly sets a new low standard for severing diplomatic relations.

Consequently, the potential for a meaningful improvement in Iran-Canada relations that may have materialized as a result of the September planned visit of Iran's Speaker of Parliament, Ali Larijani, to attend the Inter-Parliamentary meeting, has been effectively nullified as Larijani has cancelled the trip and lambasted Ottawa for appeasing the Israeli warmongers. In response to Baird's excuse of Iran's nuclear program as being one of the reasons for shutting down the Iranian embassy, both Larijani and the Foreign Minister Salehi have pointed out that Iran's program is peaceful and is monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has repeatedly confirmed the absence of any evidence of diversion of declared nuclear material.

According to a Tehran University political science professor who spoke to the author on the condition of anonymity, "there appears to be several inter-related objectives behind Canada's move. First, it is intended to reverse the recent 'reversal of fortunes' for the Western and Israeli strategy that was on full display at the (NAM) summit. Second, it signals a closer and more intimate relationship with Israel as both countries have been expanding their commercial and military transactions recently. Third, by bringing Canada on board its hawkish anti-Tehran policy, Israel now hopes to exert additional pressure on Washington to ratchet up the pressure on Iran. Finally, the idea is to put into motion a similar diplomatic offensive on the part of other Western nations to follow the footsteps of London and Ottawa."

In other words, on the eve of the annual UN General Assembly summit, a whole new season of Iran-bashing is in the offing and hence Canada's decision should not be viewed in isolation but rather as part and parcel of a concerted Israel-led offensive strategy against Iran.

With respect to Canada, it has now dutifully played its part, while play-acting that it has permitted its seduction by a number of female Iranian "rights activists", some of whom are in cohorts with the Israeli operatives. One such activist, Shabnam Assadollahi, played a key role in smearing the Iranian cultural attache in Canada by accusing him of making a "call to arms" by calling on Iranians in Canada to continue pursuing "high-level positions" in Canada and keeping their contacts with their "beloved Iran".

A close scrutiny of the text of the interview by the Iranian official reveals, however, no indication that he said anything outrageous or indicative of abnormal behavior outside the scope of a cultural attache, much as the right-wing Canadian government deliberately seized on this, with much help by another Iranian positioned within the Canadian government, Kasra Nejatian, to accuse Iran of "intimidating Iranians in Canada".

What is more, the "rights" group founded by Assadollahi, Neda For A Free Iran, features on its board one Nir Boms, a former Israeli employee of Israel's embassy in Washington, long known for his role in setting up "centers" in league with the Likud Party activists. [1]

Nir Bom's latest creation is a "Center" for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, along with known American Jewish neo-conservatives such as Daniel Pipes. [2]

The question is, of course, what is behind Israel's courtship of certain "human rights activists" in Canada who have been "overjoyed" by the government's closure of Iran's embassy in Ottawa, even though this introduces immense hardship to thousands of students, among other Iranians.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that we learn of Israel's use of Iranian dissidents for its anti-Iran purposes. Another example belongs to the famed Iranian actress, Shohreh Aghdashloo, who recently agreed to be the narrator of an Iran-bashing film produced by an extremist Israeli group setting up shop in Canada. [3]

Without doubt, by siding with Iran's enemies, these Iranian expatriates have tarnished their own image in the Iranian community in Canada, the US, and elsewhere; their consistent failure to acknowledge atrocities committed against Iran, such as the murder of its nuclear scientists or the murder of hundreds of innocent Iranians by terrorist groups such as Jundallah, only shows that Canada's problem is infiltration by pseudo-rights activists of Iranian origin who are in bed with Israelis.

In conclusion, Canada's "hasty and extreme" decision, to paraphrase Iran's foreign ministry's spokesperson, Ramin Mehmanparast, should be carefully reviewed by the members of the Canadian parliament, whose investigation may well reveal an Islamophobic, self-inflicted wound that may ingratiate Canada with the tiny Jewish state of Israel yet widens the gulf with the immense part of the world that is the Muslim world.

1. See Pro-Israel US hawks mount offensive on airwaves, Asia Times Online, April 30, 2012.
2. See Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace
3. See Open Letter To Shohreh Aghdashloo, February 11, 2011.

Kaveh L Afrasiabi, PhD, is the author of After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy (Westview Press) and co-author of "Negotiating Iran's Nuclear Populism", Brown Journal of World Affairs, Volume XII, Issue 2, Summer 2005, with Mustafa Kibaroglu. He also wrote "Keeping Iran's nuclear potential latent", Harvard International Review, and is author of Iran's Nuclear Program: Debating Facts Versus Fiction.

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