A few days ago, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Canadian counterpart Stéphane Dion met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly four years after the two countries stopped their diplomatic relations in 2012.
Asked about the meeting between Zarif and Dion, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in his weekly press conference, “In the past few months, upon the other side’s request, Iran has held negotiations [with Canada] at the level of experts in a third country.”
Finally, he added, the negotiations led to the meeting between Iranian and Canadian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UNGA.
“The expert-level talks will be continued in future, and if we manage to overcome political and legal issues, a major change can be made in Tehran-Ottawa bilateral ties,” he said, as reported by Tasnim and translated by IFP.
“Given the presence of hundreds of thousands of elite Iranians in Canada, our consular presence in the North American country is of great importance. I think, given the regional position of Iran, the issue is important for Canada as well. However, we should wait and see what it will lead to,” Qassemi said.
During their meeting in New York, Zarif and Dion talked about “mutual relations, regional issues, and consular affairs,” ISNA news agency reported on September 21.
After the meeting, Dion updated his Twitter account with a post that read, “First meeting with Irans Foreign Minister Zarif at the UNGA: [we] addressed status of relations between [the] two countries in [the] context of Middle East. [We also] discussed consular cases.”
There were no details about the talks, but Mashreq raised the possibility that the “consular” part of the talks may have included the Iranian-Canadian Homa Hoodfar who is under arrest in Iran under security charges.
Tehran and Ottawa halted their diplomatic ties after former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in July 2012 called Iran the “world’s most serious threat to international peace”, as reported by Trend.
The current Canadian government, however, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has already expressed willingness to improve relations with Tehran.