Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird
Credits: ALEX UROSEVIC/QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - Canada remained silent when Iran was given a key role in United Nations arms trade treaty talks and then complained afterwards, QMI Agency has learned.
Last week, Asian countries elected Iran to a top regional post at the UN Arms Trade Treaty conference. Canada could have forced a vote to express displeasure but decided against it.
"Rather than further delay the conference, we did not call a vote, which we would have lost," a government source said. "Instead we decided to concentrate on the substance of the conference. We expressed our concerns directly to the president of the conference."
Rick Roth, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, said Canada is "deeply disappointed" Iran was chosen as one of the vice-presidents of the conference. He said Canada will continue to work with its "like-minded partners to ensure that Iran does not obstruct the development of an international treaty."
Other countries participating in the conference include Japan, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Japan and South Korea. Negotiations are slated to wrap up on July 27.
UN Watch, a Geneva-based group that monitors the international organization, wants UN chief Ban Ki-moon to condemn the selection of Iran.
"He should remind the conference that the Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its prohibited nuclear program, and that Iran continues to defy the international community through illegal arms shipments to the murderous Assad regime," executive director Hillel Neuer said.
Iran has an appalling human rights record and was elected even though it illegally supplied weapons to Syria, where Bashar al-Assad's regime is currently massacring its own citizens who are demonstrating for democracy.
Fox News also reported Monday that "the prospect of Iran using its embassy in Canada to mobilize Islamic Republic loyalists to attack the U.S. is raising alarm among terrorism experts."