Plane crash investigation could be Canada's chance to re-open diplomatic ties with Iran: former minister

Thursday - 09/01/2020 16:46
Forensic investigators work at the scene of a Ukrainian plane crash as bodies of victims are collected, in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, on Wednesday. (Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press)
Forensic investigators work at the scene of a Ukrainian plane crash as bodies of victims are collected, in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, on Wednesday. (Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press)
Canada’s embassy in Tehran was closed in 2012

A former federal minister says Canada should work together with Iran to investigate the plane crash that claimed 63 Canadian lives, as a step towards improving diplomatic relations between the two countries.

"I would hope that our involvement with the Iranians through this investigation will help to open the door, to the point where we can re-establish relations diplomatically," said Allan Rock, who served as justice minister, and later minister of health under Jean Chrétien.

That would allow Ottawa to "get somebody on the ground in Tehran, who is a Canadian representative," he told The Current's Matt Galloway.

Canada's embassy in Tehran was closed in 2012 by Stephen Harper's Conservative government, over concerns about human rights abuses committed by the Iranian regime.

Rock said he was "disappointed" by the move at the time.

"Merely having an embassy there and having their embassy here, does not mean that we approve of that government's policies," he said.

"It means that we recognize the importance of dialogue, notwithstanding our differences."

Flight PS752 crashed Wednesday, minutes after it took off from Tehran. All 176 people onboard were killed, including dozens of Canadian-Iranians en route back to Canada. 

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 Keywords: Canada, Iran

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