School of Policy Studies

School of Policy Studies
School of Policy Studies

Eight years after, Canada's move to close Iranian embassy still controversial

January 18, 2020
CBC Radio - Barbara Martin, Adjunct Professor, School of Policy Studies, Queen's University

Former Conservative government suspended diplomatic relations in 2012

The final act of foreign officer Barbara Martin's career was to oversee the closure of the Canadian embassy in Tehran in 2012 — a decision that continues to divide members of this country's Iranian community.

Martin was the Department of Foreign Affairs' director general for the Middle East and North Africa when then-minister John Baird announced Canada had suspended diplomatic relations with Iran and expelled Iranian diplomats from Canada.

The move came months after Iranian students stormed the British embassy in the Iranian capital in November 2011 — an event which sent a chill through the diplomatic community.

"Watching an event like that happen to a very friendly allied country, we were concerned about the security at our own embassy and whether we could see ourselves facing some sort of similar event," Martin said Thursday in an interview with The House.

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Listen to the CBC interview with Barbara Martin