John Baird on nuclear deal: ‘Iran has not earned right to benefit of the doubt’

Ottawa ‘skeptical’ about international nuclear agreement

OTTAWA – The Canadian government was “deeply skeptical” on Sunday of Iran’s agreement to temporarily freeze its nuclear program, saying Ottawa’s sanctions against the regime would remain firmly in place until the new deal’s words turned into actions.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird appeared to take a stronger stance on the newly brokered deal than the United States and other allies, saying Canada would be watching Iran closely over the coming weeks and months.

“We have made-in-Canada foreign policy,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“We think past actions best predict future actions. And Iran has defied the United Nations Security Council, it has defied the International Atomic Energy Agency. Simply put Iran has not earned the right to have the benefit of the doubt.”

The agreement reached in Geneva during talks between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers commits Tehran to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for limited and gradual relief from crippling economic sanctions.

The U.S. said the deal was key to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threat, with President Barack Obama saying the agreement “cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb.” Israel, however, condemned the agreement as a “historic mistake.”

In Ottawa, Baird took a guarded approach.

“We’re deeply skeptical of Iran and its ability to honour its obligations,” he said.

Baird added that Canada believes “every diplomatic measure” should be taken to ensure that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon.

“A nuclear Iran is not just a threat to Canada, or its allies,” he said. “It would also seriously damage the integrity of decades of work for nuclear non-proliferation. It would provoke other neighbouring states to develop their own nuclear deterrent.”

While Baird commended those who negotiated the deal with Iran, he emphasized that Canadian sanctions remained firmly in place.

“Effective sanctions have brought the regime to present a more moderate front and open the door to negotiations,” he said. “The Iranian people deserve the freedom and prosperity that they have been denied for all too long by the regime’s nuclear ambitions. Until then Canadian sanctions will remain tough and will remain in full force.”

The Opposition New Democrats issued a statement calling it the interim deal a “significant step” toward making the region more peaceful and called on the governing Conservatives to actively try to move it forward.

“It is vital that the Canadian government now work with our allies, in particular the U.S., United Kingdom and France, and do our part to ensure this interim deal can be turned into a comprehensive solution on Iran’s nuclear program,” said NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar in a statement.

Sunday’s agreement is the first stage of what is hoped to bring about a final deal ensuring that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.

Under the deal, Iran will curb many of its nuclear activities for six months in exchange for limited relief from economic sanctions. The six-month period will give diplomats time to negotiate a more sweeping agreement.

The deal includes freezing Iran’s ability to enrich uranium at a maximum five per cent level, which is well below the threshold for weapons-grade material and is aimed at easing Western concerns that Tehran could one day seek nuclear arms. International monitors will oversee Iran’s compliance.

A White House statement said “key oil, banking, and financial sanctions architecture” against Iran remains in place. And it warned that any sanctions relief will be revoked and new penalties enacted if Iran fails to meet its commitments.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had joined forces with foreign ministers of the nations negotiating with Iran to push the deal through early Sunday, as the talks entered their fifth day. Kerry said the first-step deal will make Israel — an arch enemy of Iran — safer.

But Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, said there is no reason for the world to be celebrating. He said the deal reached in Geneva is based on “Iranian deception and self-delusion.”

— with files from The Associated Press




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John Baird on nuclear deal: ‘Iran has not earned right to benefit of the doubt’

  1. Why is John blathering on? It has nothing to do with Canada. Is he looking for another photo op?

    • A nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to the whole world and that includes Canada.

      • Let the adults handle it…

      • Yeah, another ‘big’ threat like Iraq and Afghanistan. Is it dark under your bed?

        • No, it’s very well-lit.

          • Well I hope your bunker has some food laid in…since you seem to spend so much time there.

      • This is not the board game Risk. This is real life

    • You are really quite amazing EmilyOne. You keep “talking” but you manage to say absolutely nothing meaningful at all!

      • But you post to me anyway.

        • Just trying to be helpful. Thought you may not realize you are saying nothing.

          • Concern trolls are boring.

  2. This is a particularly reactionary response by John Baird. From what I can understand – and we know that these negotiations are extremely complex – at the very least a constructive dialogue has been struck between the US (+allies) and Iran after thirty years of acrimony. The timelines of this accord (?) are modest as are the short term objectives. After so many decades of middle eastern confrontation, this appears to be a tentative breath of fresh air.
    Yes, Israel (at least the Likud faction) is dogmatically opposed. I can understand this. God bless the Israeli people and the Jewish faith -they have endured suffering beyond most of our comprehension-but we must all stand together at this moment of possibility.
    We may, at this point in history, need to concede Iran a significant role in this part of the world – historically they always have. Perhaps we can develop a dialogue with Iran on a positive basis where this role works to stabilize this tumultuous region for everybody’s well-being. Perhaps concessions will have to be made…..but not surrendered.
    Sadly, our Canadian representatives, for reasons which may be narrowly advantageous, choose not to participate in this initial foray into a new middle east. That is to be regretted.

    • What Kool Aid have you been drinking?! “at the very least a constructive dialogue has been struck between the US (+allies) and Iran after thirty years of acrimony…. Perhaps we can develop a dialogue with Iran on a positive basis where this role works to stabilize this tumultuous region for everybody’s well-being.” Blah, Blah, Blah — What silly, sentimental progressive hogwash. Constructive dialogue; did you pull that straight from a Hope and Change Obama speech? And pe-leeze – stop patronizing Israel with your “they have suffered” pity. Really! But now you would like Israel to sit still while they are being made a nuclear target for their bitter enemies. Iran’s leaders haven’t a shred of honor; why would any sane western leader make any deal whatsoever with them. They have been feeding weapons to Al Queda, Syria, Jordan, Hezbollah and Hamas forever. Iran is a regressive, hateful, bullishly aggressive and totally dishonest nation fixated on wiping out Israel. This is an agreement written by Tehran and delivered by the White House. Even John Bolton , former US Ambassador to the UN, is unequivocally against it and supports Israel’s likely impending decision to open fire on Iran’s nuclear installations. As dumb as the guy is, Barack Hussein Obama has an agenda here and it is to force Israel’s hand so they can the be demonized on the world stage when they attack Iran. Obama demonstrated his sentiments clearly when he let US patriots die in a burning inferno in Benghazi. Baird’s stance is quite muted, imo. I wish he had made it clear that Canada will support whatever Israel decides to do ~ and encourage them not to wait one more day for the inevitable to happen. Obama and Europe have put Israel on notice: we are not on your side. There is no reason for Netanyahu to wait around any longer in the hope of support from any of them; the gig is up.

      • So your rant is the world needs to obey israel? What is this nonsense “ohh everyone is leaving israel, europe and the US”. Sounds like what a coward would say “I would fight if all my friends are with me”. Since israel has such a big mouth, why not do something. We are sick and tired of hearing these cowards. Israel has nuclear weapons perhaps they should destroy it as well. They need to invent a new toilet paper for your mental feces.

        • Don’t be a coward. Take off the mask, Mike.

          • I would but i need protection from your verbal diarrhea.

  3. It’s times like this I am glad Canada is a smaller country that others tend to ignore.

    • Yeah Canada is a small country that Harper and his sock puppets make even smaller. What’s most distasteful is that this amateur-hour foreign policy is entirely aimed at micro-targeting voters. Harper’s entire 9 years in office will be one long drawn out election campaign, with no timeouts for governing…

      • “What’s most distasteful is that this amateur-hour foreign policy is
        entirely aimed at micro-targeting voters. Harper’s entire 9 years in
        office will be one long drawn out election campaign, with no timeouts
        for governing…”

        My thoughts exactly. Very well put and unfortunate.

  4. John Baird: The Rob Ford of international affairs. Surprised he’s not home planning his leadership campaign.

    • Grow up and make an actual argument. Or stay out of the debate.

      • ^ this lady is out to lunch. Get your head examined, everyone has the right speak.

  5. Iran isn’t going to curb anything for the next 6 months. Their scientists and engineers
    will keep on diligently working on a bomb knowing that Obama will do his best
    to look the other way when they violate the agreement. They know that Obama is
    desperate to be seen as a peace maker and he will pretend not to know of any
    Iranian violations in order to avoid taking action. It’s only logical for Iran to aim for a
    complete nuclear weapons capacity before Obama’s term ends in 2017.

    • Meanwhile our allies, the Saudis, are importing nukes from Pakistan….but apparently John doesn’t mind that.

  6. Wow Bibi Netanyahu is surely in the pantheon along with Edgar Bergen and Shari Lewis: you can’t see his lips move at all when John Baird is talking.

  7. The deal averts war and gas the potential of weakening the isolationist and xenophobic Ayatollahs. If there;s any chance of an Iranian democracy, it will spring from the seeds planted here.

    Why on Earth would Baird object tot hat? Does he intend to take Canada’s third-rate military into a war with Iran that not even the hawkish Yanks want to get mixed up in?

  8. Quote from the article:
    “A White House statement said “key oil, banking, and financial sanctions architecture” against Iran remains in place. And it warned that any sanctions relief will be revoked and new penalties enacted if Iran fails to meet its commitments.”

    Don’t you think that Iran has had enough of the sanctions? Why on earth would it want to invoke “new penalties” on top of the old sanctions?
    Perhaps it has something to do with Harper’s commitment to Israel?

  9. It ill behoves a member of a government that has dodged, ducked, bought and lied its way through its entire existence to cast aspersions on the integrity of any other regime.

    While I have no doubts that the Iranian government is chock full of dangerous liars and clowns, I know for certain that the assembled lightweights, liars, crooks and their useful puppets that inhabit our government are not to be trusted in anything they say either.
    The angry muppet Baird has been involved from the very beginning in the shenanigans and deserves to be dumped in the trash with the rest of the CPoC rubbish like Kenney, Clement and of course the bagman Gerstein.

  10. There couldn’t be a more obnoxious, unqualified thug to misrepresent Canada…but you’ve got to love the dilemma this creates for harperites and the ultimate crow they’ll have to eat.
    Perhaps in the not to distant future, Canadians will reject candidates for parliament lacking qualification beyond, ‘political animal’, or, ‘zealot’….better yet, abolish a party system. Sure as hell we have a bunch of losers, thieves and pork-barrel’s running things now.

  11. Baird ““We think past actions best predict future actions”
    So does that mean the Harper government is going to participate with NATO in an illegal war of aggression and give full support to local and non-local terrorist groups to overthrow the existing government of a sovereign nation state? Or does it simply mean that Canada (Harper et al, Canadian citizens aside) is not going to respect international law or treaties and is going to blindly support the Zionist regime in Israel? Baird is such a creative rainbow admirer.

  12. Stabs Obama/Kerry in the back; are those the two guys in charge of pipeline file?

    • Break with pal PM David Cameron as well.

  13. I found it difficult to understand Mr. Baird what with his lips so firmly locked on Benjamin Netanyahu’s ass cheek.

  14. False flag in 3, 2, 1…

  15. Baird would prefer the tension between Iran and the West remains high. That way the price of oil remains high.

  16. Does the made In Canada foreign policy also take into account the hypocrisy of Israel’s nuclear ambitions or Israel’s refusal of the UN? That seems to me a bit more of a made in the USA policy.

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