Canada will not 'stay out' of Iranian politics: Cannon
Top Canadian official in Iran called into meeting
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Canada will not remain silent on the political situation in Iran after Tehran added Canada to a list of countries that it says is meddling in its internal affairs.
The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called Canada's chargé d'affaires in Tehran to a meeting on Thursday, reportedly complaining that Canada has been spouting meddlesome comments and decrying media coverage of the outcome of Friday's presidential election that showed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning by a 2-to-1 margin.
"He was told the same thing that every other chargé has been told: 'Stay out of our politics,'" Cannon told CBC News. "And we will not. We will continue to promote democracy. We will continue to challenge Iran on human rights."
"These are things that are extremely important and it’s incumbent upon us to continue to do that."
All three of Ahmadinejad's challengers have alleged the results came out of vote rigging and supporters from both sides have mounted massive daily rallies since Monday.
Diplomatic officials from several European countries — including the Swiss envoy who represents U.S. interests in Iran — have also been summoned by authorities this week to discuss diplomatic concerns.
Iran has accused the United States of "intolerable" meddling in its internal affairs — an allegation the White House has dismissed.
Crackdown on 'deviant news sites'
Iran appears to be accusing countries of using official statements by government officials and websites to meddle in its internal affairs, said CBC News Washington correspondent Paul Hunter.
"Iran isn't being absolutely specific by what it means by all of that," Hunter said.
Cannon had earlier denounced the "brutal treatment" of protesters while Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said Canada "finds the behaviour of the regime unacceptable in so many ways that I cannot even begin to name them."
Journalists working for foreign media have been restricted from first-hand reporting on the streets in an attempt to block images and eyewitness accounts from the rallies.
Iranians using social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook and text messaging services to get their message out seem to be a key point of contention for authorities, Hunter said.
On Wednesday Iranian authorities ordered any material that "creates tension" and encourages public disturbance and street riots be removed from Iranian websites and blogs.
The government has blocked certain websites, such as BBC Farsi, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and several sites supporting reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi that are being used by Iranians to release pictures, videos and accounts of the protests and violence occurring in the country.
Officials alleged many of the "deviant news sites" are being financed by American, British and Canadian companies and feeding the civil unrest.
Canadian officials have told Iran's chargé d'affaires in Ottawa that the government is concerned about the situation.