SHAFAQNA- Canadian government officials are on the ground in Tehran this week for the first time since the Harper government closed the Canadian Embassy there nearly five years ago.
The visit by Global Affairs officials comes just days ahead of a crucial presidential election in Iran, a country Canadian diplomats abandoned in 2012 partly due to “security concerns”.
A government source confirmed to CBC News the officials are in Tehran advocating for Canadians entangled in Iran’s legal system, as well as for the improvement of Iran’s overall human rights record.
The source familiar with the matter would not discuss the details of the consular cases involved, but said they were also raised in a call between the two countries’ foreign ministers, held on Monday.
According to the source, the visit is also inevitably seen as a tangible sign that Canada is “committed to re-engaging” with Tehran, though no major breakthrough is yet expected in restoring the embassies that were closed when Ottawa quietly pulled its diplomats in 2012..
Restoring relations with Iran and reopening the respective embassies closed in 2012 in Ottawa and Tehran was a Liberal promise during the 2015 election.
Shortly after Justin Trudeau became prime minister, Canada lifted a number of sanctions on Iran, bringing Ottawa into line with several world powers that had agreed to do so under a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear capability.
The change, along with downgrading a warning against all travel to Iran, was partly aimed at encouraging Canadian business ties in a burgeoning market that had been sequestered under sanctions for more than a decade.