Canada also added Iran, and later Syria, to the state sponsors of terrorism list under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which allows Canadians affected by terrorism to sue the offending states.
“Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said.
Speaking later on the issue, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canadian diplomats were recalled because of Iran’s “capacity for increasingly bad behavior.”
Commenting on Canada’s actions, Israeli President Shimon Peres said the country “has proven once again that morals come before pragmatism.”
Canada’s move comes after more than three decades of strained relations with Iran. Canada closed its embassy in the country following the 1979 Islamic Revolution since it feared retribution for helping six American diplomats escape. While relations resumed with Iran in 1988, Canada’s concerns for Iranian human rights abuses, nuclear non-proliferation and threats against Israel have limited Canadian diplomatic engagement with Islamic Republic.