Our diplomatic war with Iran

Asked about how Iran might respond to Canada’s decision to cut diplomatic relations, the Prime Minister says nothing would surprise him. Iran dismisses the Harper government as “racist.” John Baird says he has no knowledge of military action against Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu and Simon Peres praise the Harper government. Irwin Cotler assesses the situation.

Iranian students in Canada are worried. Iranian-Canadians in Calgary are concerned. Haaretz suggests sanctions and isolation may compel Iran to negotiate. The Tehran Times reacts to the move. Doug Saunders and Gus Van Harten question the Harper government’s decision. The Toronto Star worries about war between Israel and Iran. The Globe questions Mr. Baird’s reasoning and says it’s better to talk with your enemies.

The presence of an embassy and the retention of diplomatic relations is not evidence of support for or approval of a regime, it is an acknowledgement that it is better to talk, even to an enemy, than not.

Cardinal Richelieu devoted a chapter of his Testament politique to the imperative of continuous negotiation, stating, “I may venture to say boldly that to negotiate without ceasing, openly or secretly, in all places, and though no present benefits accrue, nor any prospects of future advantage present itself, is what is absolutely necessary for the good and welfare of States.” It is precisely because it is a threat to its own people and those in other countries that Canada should continue to talk with Iran and not retreat from its international responsibilities.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.