Ottawa warns Iran against recruiting expats living in Canada
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:16AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:19AM EDT
Ottawa is warning Iran to back off after reports emerged that the dictatorial regime is reaching out to expatriates living in Canada and calling on them to join the service of "their beloved Iran."
Hamid Mohammadi, a cultural affairs counsellor based out of the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, gave an interview in Farsi to an Iranian website aimed at Iranians living in Canada.
Mohammadi urged expats to serve their home country from abroad, discussed how the Iranian population is growing in Canada and pointing out that many second-generation Iranian Canadians are working in influential positions in the Canadian government.
In a statement provided to CTV News on Wednesday, a staffer from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird's office warned that Tehran was out of line and should not reach out to Iranians who had chosen to leave their country.
"It is well known that Iran is a serious threat to global peace and security," said Rick Roth in an email to CTV News.
"Iranian-Canadians have rejected the oppressive Iranian regime and have chosen to come to Canada to build better lives. The Iranian Embassy should not interfere in their choices."
CTV's Mercedes Stephenson said Ottawa is alarmed about Iran's aggressive tactics, along with many Iranians who still have family in Iran and worry about being pressured to work with Tehran.
"As you can imagine this is quite alarming to Canadian security agents, the Canadian government as well as to many Canadian-Iranians that are concerned about the regime reaching out to touch them right here in Canada," Stephenson told CTV News Channel.
Ottawa has referred to Iran as the prime threat to international security and has criticized the human rights record of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.'
With a report from CTV News Channel's Mercedes Stephenson