Canada severs ties with Iran

Canada is suspending its diplomatic relations with Iran and expelling all Iranian envoys from the country.

The Canadian government cited as reasons for the move Iran’s support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, its threats to the existence of Israel, its ongoing nuclear programme and its politicians’ regular use of “antisemitic rhetoric”.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said: "Iran is among the world's worst violators of human rights; and it shelters and materially supports terrorist groups, requiring the Government of Canada to formally list Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act.

"Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Canada, saying: "This is a bold decision that is sending a clear message to Iran and to the entire world, one week after a show of antisemitism and hate in Tehran. The Canadian government took a moral step.”

Last updated: 5:22pm, September 7 2012