“Canada’s illogical and injudicious move to suspend bilateral ties [with Iran] has led to the closure of the embassies of both countries and the termination of consular services to Iranians, including the setting up of ballot boxes in Canadian cities,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Araqchi.
On September 7, 2012, the Canadian government closed its embassy in Tehran and ordered Iranian diplomats to leave Canada within five days.
Araqchi further said many Iranian nationals in Canada will not be able to cast their ballots in the upcoming Iranian presidential election as Ottawa has not allowed polling centers to be set up across the North American country.
He underlined that the Canadian government has never allowed polling stations to be set up outside Ottawa, even when the two countries had normal relations.
“By making such a decision, Canada had deprived many Iranians of exercising their legal rights [even in the past],” said the Foreign Ministry spokesman.
Iranians will go to the polls in the nation’s 11th presidential election on June 14. Over 66,000 polling stations will be set up across Iran. Iranian nationals will also be able to cast ballots at 285 polling stations that will be set up overseas.
Describing a recent move by Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird claiming to defend the rights of the Iranian diaspora in the country as a “hypocritical gesture,” Araqchi pointed out that Ottawa has a long record of stripping Iranians of their basic rights.
The Iranian official said the Canadian government has imposed banking restrictions on Iranian nationals, frozen their bank accounts, closed down the Canadian embassy’s consular section in Tehran, and denied Iranian nationals the right to enjoy consular services offered by the Iranian embassy in Ottawa.
“This government has even endangered the security of our countrymen in Canada by allowing well-known terrorist groups to freely pursue their activities and removing the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from the list of terrorist groups,” the Iranian official added.
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