In Confronting Iran, John Baird Stands in the Way of Real Solutions

by John Mundy

Published in the Globe and Mail, May 21, 2013

Imagine if U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had delivered the speech that Foreign Minister John Baird gave to the Global Dialogue on Iran’s Future last week in Toronto. Stock markets would have tanked; diplomats would be booking one-way flights out of Tehran and Iran would be warming up its ballistic missiles.

To be sure, Mr. Baird said he hoped for a peaceful solution to the Iranian crisis but his message was clear – the Iranian people should overthrow Ayatollah Khamenei’s government and Canada will help them do it. This is a policy of regime change, and if our friends and allies adopt the Foreign Minister’s language then international negotiations with Iran will collapse.

The problem is not the topic of the Foreign Minister’s speech, which was supporting human rights in Iran. Supporting human rights is a good policy that plays to a Canadian strength. The problem is Mr. Baird’s premise that the correct approach towards Iran is to increase pressure on it until its government either surrenders or collapses….

Read the rest of this essay on the Globe and Mail website.

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