Kent: An Attack on Israel is an Attack on Canada

Published: February 12th 2010

The Honourable Peter Kent
Globe and Mail article quoting Minister Kent's comments from Shalom Life


On Thursday, during events marking the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that Iran has produced its first batch of uranium enriched to a higher level. The announcement came just two days after Iran announced that the process had begun.


Ahmadinejad said that Iran is now a “nuclear state”, although he insisted that Iran is not interested in building nuclear weapons.


The announcement on the decision to further enrich uranium has left world leaders uneasy, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who expressed Canada’s concerns regarding the Iranian nuclear program in a press release: “Canada is deeply disturbed by Iran’s decision further to enrich its nuclear material in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. The regime’s latest moves bring Iran considerably closer to possessing weapons-grade material.”


Shalom Life spoke with the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Americas and MP for Thornhill, regarding the latest development in the Iranian issue. “Canada has been concerned for some time not only about brutal repression of civil rights in Iran but also about the nuclear adventurism and the proclaimed quest of nuclear weaponry by President Ahmadinejad,” said Kent.


He explained that the Harper government’s position is to place further sanctions on Iran, but not unilaterally. “Unilateral sanctions tend to be much less effective than when we impose sanctions in concert with other countries,” explained Kent. “We have had some sanctions for some time on equipment and materials related to the making of nuclear weapons but it may soon be time to intensify the sanctions and to broaden those sanctions into other areas, such as economic areas which we hope would discourage Iran from its current course.”


Kent believes that sanctions could be placed on Iran that would directly target the regime and not the opposition or innocent citizens. “Very often the people who suffer when sanctions are imposed are the most innocent in any society and that is always a consideration. There are a variety of ways that sanctions can be focused on the state, on the government itself and on government ministers, and their finances and other things. Those talks are continuing and I suspect that today’s statement by President Ahmadinejad will add impetus and momentum to those discussions,” said Kent, and added: “I think the realization that it’s a dangerous situation has been there for some time. It’s a matter of timing and it’s a matter of how long we can wait without taking more serious preemptive action. For the moment we’re demonstrating and proclaiming our frustration and concern about the Iranian nuclear program. We hope when Canada hosts the G-8 this year one of the primary points of discussion will be focusing of national attention and possible action on the Iranian regime.”


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