Mark Kennedy – Montreal Gazette October 14, 2011
Prime Minister Stephen Harper took direct aim at Iran on Friday, describing the regime as the biggest threat in the world to peace and security.
Harper made the remarks to journalists as he responded to questions about whether Canada will impose new sanctions after this week’s startling accusation by the United States government that Iran had plotted to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.
“We have no quarrel with the Iranian people,” said Harper.
“But the regime in Tehran represents probably the most significant threat in the world to global peace and security. So we take these matters very, very seriously and we’ll be working with our allies.”
Harper said Canada condemns “in the strongest possible terms” the plot that was unveiled this week.
“And it only reiterates the position that our government has been expressing for several years now.”
The prime minister said he wasn’t prepared to say this early how Canada will respond to this latest incident.
“We already have a range of sanctions on the government of Iran. Obviously, as a consequence of the revelations this week we’ll be working closely with our allies to co-ordinate next steps.”
Earlier this week, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Canada and other countries were looking at possible “consequences” for Iran as a penalty for the alleged plot.
Iran has strongly denied any involvement in the alleged assassination scheme.
On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said officials there believed there was a plot, with links to the Iranian government, to kill Adel Al-Jubeir on American soil. Two men have been charged.
“I think one has to be concerned about the chilling nature of what the Iranian government attempted to do here,” Holder told a news conference.