Canada remains 'deeply skeptical' of Iran nuclear deal; sanctions to remain in place
The Canadian government remains “deeply skeptical” of Iran in spite of the newly-brokered nuclear deal and will continue to implement tough economic sanctions on the country, says Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
Under the new deal -- reached in Geneva during talks between Iran, the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia – the country will curb many of its nuclear activities for six months in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.
But Baird said the Canadian government has decided to take a wait-and-see approach-- and will evaluate the new deal based on its successful implementation.
“We will evaluate this deal not just on the merits of its words, but more importantly by its verifiable implementation and unfettered access of all Iranian nuclear facilities,” Baird said at a news conference Sunday.
Until then, Canada will stick to economic sanctions, which “have brought the regime to present a more moderate front and open the door to negotiations,” Baird said.
He added that Canada is skeptical of Iran’s “ability to honour its obligations.”
“We think past actions best predict future actions and Iran has defied the United Nations Security Council, and has defied the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Baird said. “Simply put, Iran has not earned the right to have the benefit of the doubt.”
Canada had severed its diplomatic relations with Iran a little over a year ago, shuttering its embassy in Tehran and expelling the regime's diplomats from Canada.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed similar skepticism after the agreement was announced, calling it a “historic mistake.”
“Israel is not bound by the agreement,” Netanyahu said at a news conference. “We cannot and will not allow a regime that calls for the destruction of Israel to obtain the means to achieve this goal.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the deal’s requirements as key to preventing nuclear proliferation, while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the deal will make Israel safer.
A White House statement said the deal limits Iran’s ability to “produce weapons-grade plutonium, and will subject its nuclear program to “increased transparency and intrusive monitoring.”
In exchange, the statement said Iran will face “limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible (sanctions) relief.”
In a statement from Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the group urged caution over the deal.
David Koschitzky, chair of the group, noted that “Israel and others in the region have pointed to a number of serious deficiencies in this agreement.”
“Canadians have every reason to maintain healthy scepticism regarding this deal, given Iran's track record of manipulating diplomacy and breaching signed agreements,” he said. “Any pause to Iran’s nuclear drive will only be successful if the next six months are used to reach a comprehensive agreement that permanently denies Iran nuclear weapons capability.”