Baird warns UN about Iran’s charm offensive
OTTAWA—Foreign Affairs minister John Baird is telling the United Nations General Assembly not to be taken in by any Iranian charm offensives.
Baird restated that warning in his speech to the assembly today—evoking the memory of the failed appeasement of Nazi Germany in the year before the Second World War.
Baird addressed the apparent thaw in the three decades of strained relations between the United States and Iran after President Barack Obama spoke by phone with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, last week.
It was the first conversation between the leaders of the two countries since the 1979 siege of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
“Some observers see encouraging signs but sound bites do not remove threats to global security,” Baird stressed.
“Kind words, a smile, and a charm offensive are not a substitute for real action.”
Baird noted that the P5+1—the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany—has met five times with Iran in the past two years to find an end to its nuclear standoff with the West.
“While everyone says the meetings have been ‘productive,’ the fact remains we haven’t seen any change in Iran’s actions,” Baird noted.
Canada will welcome reform, but will judge the Iranian regime by whether it delivers results and elevates the standard of living of its people, he said.
In the meantime, Baird said tough sanctions must be maintained.
Canada severed diplomatic relations with Iran one year ago—shuttering its embassy in Tehran and expelling the regime’s diplomats from Canada.