’Canada is weird’

The door of the Iranian embassy in Ottawa is shown Friday September 7, 2012. Canada has closed its embassy in Iran and is expelling all remaining Iranian diplomats in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Campbell Clark tries to explain the Harper government’s decision to cut off Iran.

There’s no U.S. embassy there and the British left last November, when their gated embassy was stormed by protesters. Ottawa worried Canadians could be next in line as the enemy foreigners. If Israel launches strikes, Canadian diplomats believed they would be taken hostage. Ottawa, after all, has become Israel’s staunchest defender. The Harper government also had a September deadline to list Iran as a “state sponsor of terrorism” under a new law, and worried about retaliation…

It didn’t have to expel all Iranian diplomats to deal with safety concerns in Tehran. On Monday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney offered a new reason: Iranian diplomats were intimidating Iranian-Canadians. But the key reason, certainly, was that the government wanted to make it part of a statement about Iran as a rogue nation. That’s why Ottawa listed Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism on the same day as it made its surprise announcement.

Michael Petrou reported exclusively yesterday on Iran’s dealings in Canada.