Examining the Harper government’s recent decision to cut all ties with Iran.
The Harper government’s decision to sever all relations with Iran will not have any impact on the bellicose behaviours of the Iranian regime, nor will it weaken that regime. It only works to further discredit Canada in the eyes of the world, and particularly in the Middle East, where Canada’s foreign policy is seen as an appendage of the present hawkish settler coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Israel. It may also put Canadian diplomats at more risk in a region where rent-a-mob is so prevalent. Harper’s decision has caused fear of yet another war in the Middle East – perhaps the biggest yet. Many Middle East experts, even some of the Israeli top generals and former security leaders, have warned the present government of Israel not to get into a war with Iran. It is only a group of zealot right-wing pundits and columnists, some who don’t realize the global consequences of such a war, that cheers on the warmongers.
The long list of accusations against the Islamist regime, which Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird has cited, is right on: The regime is a major violator of human rights, a supporter of the brutal regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and a supporter of terrorist organizations. It has been making anti-Zionist remarks and threats against Israel, and it has been following a suspicious nuclear program. One can easily add to the list. The Islamic regime’s embassy in Canada, through its “cultural centre,” had actively engaged in establishing front associations, organizing bogus conventions and propaganda seminars in order to infiltrate and spy on the Iranian-Canadian community, particularly in Canadian universities that have large numbers of students of Iranian origin. Many Iranian-Canadians successfully campaigned against, and exposed, the mischievous activities of the embassy. They repeatedly identified the regime’s present or former functionaries in Canada, hoping in vain that the Canadian government would not provide a safe haven for them and the millions of dollars they have stolen from Iranians.
Minister Baird and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, however, are wrong to repeat Netanyahu’s claim that Iran is the biggest threat to the peace and security of the world. It is one of the sources of insecurity, no doubt, but not the only one. The Islamic Republic is in fact the biggest threat to Iran itself, and to the Iranian people. Iran’s standing has drastically declined politically, socially, economically, and culturally under the obscurantist, corrupt, and irrational regime of zealot mullahs and their fanatical followers. And now, with its irrational behaviour, the regime is dragging Iran into total destruction. Indeed, there are elements in both the Supreme Leader and the president’s spheres of influences that welcome a confrontation with Israel and the U.S. in order to blame the regime’s total failures on outside interference. Any time Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is faced with serious internal problems, resulting from running an incompetent and corrupt government, he opens his mouth with an anti-Israeli remark and distracts all attentions from the main issues the Islamic regime is faced with.
The question that is on the mind of many observers is the timing of the Canadian government’s decision to cut diplomatic relations with Iran. It is indeed curious, as the reasons given are not new – most of them date back almost to its inception in 1979. The timing has something to do with the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, which took place in Tehran in August. Although Iran’s Islamic regime could not get all it expected from the conference, the mere fact that, despite pressures from the U.S., many world leaders attended the summit and the final communiqué supported Iran means that the regime could claim that it is not isolated after all. This, along with anti-Israeli resolutions, no doubt angered Israel, the U.S., and the U.K. – none of whom have diplomatic relations with Iran – and the Harper government rose to support them.
The unfortunate aspect of this wrong-headed foreign policy is that Canada, which has traditionally been seen to calm tensions in many zones of conflict, is now adding tension to an extremely volatile situation. We’ve seen how easily an incident like showing a stupid, cheap, and historically inaccurate anti-Muslim movie trailer can incite violence and upheavals throughout the Middle East. Imagine what would happen if there were a new war, and a much bigger one, throughout the region.
The vast majority of Iranians – both within the country and in the diaspora – want to see the end to this brutal, corrupt, and archaic regime, and replace it with a democratic and secular government. This should be achieved by Iranians themselves, and not through foreign intervention and war, which, even if successful in bringing down the regime, would only replace it with another dictatorship in a ruined, devastated, and disintegrated Iran.