Iranian, Canadian FMs Discuss Holding Iran Elections for Expats

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on Canada to open the way for Iranians residing in the North American country to cast their ballots in the upcoming presidential election.

The top Iranian diplomat made the call in a telephone conversation with his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland on Monday night.

“Iranian expatriates, just like the people at home, are so eager to have a role in shaping their country’s future by taking part in the presidential election,” Zarif said, urging the Ottawa government to facilitate their participation in the polls.

Freeland, for her part, hailed the influential presence of Iranian communities in her country and said the Canadian government is mindful of the importance that voting in the presidential election has for Iranian residents.

She added, however, that a number of “technical issues” need to be handled first, given the lack of political ties between Tehran and Ottawa, closure of Iranian diplomatic sites, and Canada’s domestic regulations on polls involving foreign citizens.

It came after Iran’s Foreign Ministry said last week that it has been pursuing diplomacy to allow Iranian nationals residing in the US and Canada to vote in the May 19 presidential election.

Meanwhile, a political delegation from Canada’s Foreign Ministry arrived in Tehran on Tuesday morning for talks with Iranian officials on bilateral relations.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper severed diplomatic relations with Iran in September 2012, citing, among other pretexts, what it described as “continued threats from Iran to Israel”.

The two countries now maintain interests sections in the embassies of third countries.

Canada’s incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has signaled willingness to reopen the country’s embassy in Iran.

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