Iran blames Canada for failing to arrange expats voting

TEHRAN, Jun. 11 (MNA) – Tehran holds Canada responsible for the fact that Iranian expatriates living in this country cannot cast ballots in the June 14 presidential election, a Foreign Ministry official said on Sunday.

“The responsibility for the fact that the presidential election will not be held for our countrymen living in Canada lies with the government of Stephen Harper,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araghchi said in response to a statement issued by Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on Saturday in which he blamed Iran for failing to arrange for Iranian expatriates’ voting.  

In his statement, Baird said, “Iran has taken no steps to arrange for Iranians in Canada to participate in this election, confirming that the regime itself sees the vote as an empty propaganda exercise. We have not yet received any proposal from Iran concerning the representation of its interests in Canada. Despite having nine months to make such an arrangement, Iran has failed to do so, depriving Iranian nationals of a range of services as well as the opportunity to vote.” 

The statement also read, “This sidelining of the sizable Iranian diaspora in Canada is, sadly, not surprising and makes this upcoming election even more of a sham.” 

Araghchi said, “Canada’s ill-advised and illogical move to suspend bilateral relations has led to the closure of the two countries’ embassies and a halt to consular services to Iranians, including the setting up of polling stations in Canadian cities.    

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has taken measures to set up polling stations in various countries in all presidential elections in order to uphold the civil rights of Iranian citizens living abroad.  

“The Canadian government -- in the past and also when the relations were normal -- never allowed polling stations to be set up outside Ottawa and prevented many Iranians from exercising their legal rights with this decision.”       

The head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Department for Iranian Expatriates’ Affairs, Kazem Sajjadi, said on May 26 that Iranian expatriates in Canada could not go to the polls because of Ottawa’s lack of cooperation. 

Canada announced on September 7, 2012 that it had closed its embassy in Tehran. It also expelled all Iranian diplomats in Canada a few days after the announcement was made.

EP/PA
MNA
END
News Code 55591

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