Iran summons Italy envoy over Canada sanctions

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Iran has summoned the Italian ambassador, who represents Canadian interests in Tehran, after Ottawa listed the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist entity, state media said on Friday.

Tensions have been high between the two countries, which broke off diplomatic relations in 2012. In the absence of a diplomatic mission, Canada’s interests in Iran have been represented by Italy.

Canada on Wednesday listed the Guards as “a terrorist entity,” citing “disregard for human rights” and “willingness to destabilize the international rules-based order.”

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Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani called the move “hostile” and contrary to international law.

On Thursday, the ministry summoned the Italian ambassador to Tehran, Paola Amadei, “to convey our country’s firm protest against the Canadian government’s illegal action,” the official IRNA news agency reported.

In a post on social media platform X, Iran’s acting foreign minister, Ali Bagheri, said the “Canadian government will be responsible for the consequences of this provocative and irresponsible decision.”

Ottawa’s designation bars Revolutionary Guards members from entering Canada and prohibits Canadians from dealing with them. It also allows for the seizure of any assets the Guards or its members hold in Canada.

Canada and other nations are pursuing legal action against Iran at the International Court of Justice over the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 in January 2020.

The passenger jet was shot down shortly after take-off from Tehran, killing all 176 people on board, including 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Iran said the missile strike was a mistake.

Ottawa has previously listed the Quds Force, the Guards’ foreign operations arm, as a terrorist entity and, in 2022, permanently denied entry to more than 10,000 Iranian officials, including Guards members.

The United States designated the Guards as a foreign terrorist organization in April 2019 and the European Union sanctioned them this month for allegedly supplying drones to Russia and its allies in the Middle East.

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