Canadian Jewish group slams Iran embassy closure

Published Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Canadian Jewish group decried Friday their government's recent severance of ties with Iran, calling it a "perilous move" that supports "the most extreme elements in the Israeli government and their Canadian allies who are pushing for another Middle East war."

Independent Jewish Voice (IJV) urged the Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper's conservative government to be wary of doing Israel's bidding in the region. The Jewish state's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been on a rigorous diplomatic campaign to rally support for a military strike against Iran, which Western countries say is developing nuclear weapons.

"With this approach Prime Minister Harper will only fan the flames of war -- a war Canadians overwhelmingly oppose," said the group's spokesman Sid Shnaid.

Iran denies charges against it, claiming that the manufacture of nuclear facilities in the country supports fuel-efficient energy production in the country. Its allies, including Security Council member Russia, support the claim, stating that no evidence of plans to develop a nuclear weapon exist

Last week, Canada shut down its embassy in Tehran and announced it would expel all Iranian diplomats from its territory, citing the country's nuclear program and its support for Syrian president Bashar el Assad.

"Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today," Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement.

"Under the circumstances, Canada can no longer maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran … Diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran have been suspended," he added.

"The right-wing Israel lobby has proven to be expert in propaganda against Iran, but unwilling to pursue diplomacy to prevent a potentially disastrous conflict," said IJV spokesman Sid Shniad.

"IJV demands that they stop claiming to speak for the Canadian Jewish community, which does not favor war."

IJV describes itself as a group representing Jewish people in Canada with a strong commitment to social justice, upholding foremost Palestinian rights in their historic homeland which was expropriated by the Israeli state in 1948.

(Al-Akhbar)

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