Baird Comments on Iran’s Suppression of Democratic Voices Before Election

June 8, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“The Iranian election is just around the corner, and Iran’s rulers have taken every step they can to suppress the collective will and democratic voices of average Iranians inside the country.

“Iran has taken no steps to arrange for Iranians in Canada to participate in this election, confirming that the regime itself sees the vote as an empty propaganda exercise. We have not yet received any proposal from Iran concerning the representation of its interests in Canada. Despite having nine months to make such an arrangement, Iran has failed to do so, depriving Iranian nationals of a range of services as well as the opportunity to vote.

“This sidelining of the sizable Iranian diaspora in Canada is, sadly, not surprising and makes this upcoming election even more of a sham.

“Canada will continue to stand with those millions of disenfranchised Iranians and will work with those on the ground, pushing for meaningful reforms and for Iranians’ basic rights to be respected. While we long ago lost faith in the regressive and hollow Iranian regime, we have not lost faith in the Iranian people.”

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada and the Iranian Election

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada considers all official requests from foreign states seeking to establish balloting stations in Canada in order to facilitate the casting of votes.

For details about Canada’s policy on this matter and related requirements, please consult Foreign Elections in Canada and Foreign Electoral Constituencies.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has no record of any request from the Government of Iran, nor from a third country representing Iran’s interests, to establish voting stations in Canada in advance of the Iranian election.

Suspending Diplomatic Relations with Iran

On September 7, 2012, Canada closed its embassy in Iran, and declared personae non gratae all remaining Iranian diplomats in Canada. Diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran were suspended at that time.

For more information, please visit Canada Closes Embassy in Iran, Expels Iranian Diplomats from Canada.

Protecting Power Arrangements

The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations give nations the authority to designate a protecting power, or third country, to exercise consular and other functions on their behalf should diplomatic relations cease between two states.

Canadians in Iran seeking routine consular and passport services should contact the Canadian embassy in Ankara or any other Canadian mission.

Canadians in Iran who require urgent assistance should contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa by calling collect 613-996-8885 or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.