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Embassy Row: Canada strong and free

- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 28, 2013

In the words of its national anthem, Canada is standing strong and free against the Iranian nuclear agreement engineered by the Obama administration.

"We're deeply skeptical of the deal," Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said this week, after Secretary of State John F. Kerry revealed the terms of the settlement with Iran.

The Muslim theocratic state, which has vowed to destroy Israel but denies it has a nuclear weapons program, agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in return for some relief from crippling economic sanctions imposed under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Mr. Baird told reporters in Ottawa that Canada's own sanctions against Iran will "remain tough and in full force," despite the deal endorsed by the U.S., Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

Canada has adopted what the Foreign Ministry called "sweeping and stringent nuclear and economic sanctions" that exceed those of the U.N.

"A nuclear Iran is not just a threat to Canada and its allies, but it would also seriously damage the integrity of decades of work on nuclear non-proliferation," Mr. Baird said.

He added that the Iranian people "deserve the freedom and prosperity that they have been denied for too long by the regime's nuclear ambitions."

'WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH'

A vice president of the European Union lectured a U.S. congressional delegation on the Obama administration's responsibility to ensure that the National Security Agency is no longer spying on Europeans.

Viviane Reding, who also serves as the EU's justice commissioner, met in Brussels this week with Sen. Christopher Murphy, Connecticut Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on European affairs; and Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida Republican, and Gregory W. Meeks, New York Democrat. Mr. Diaz-Balart serves on the House Appropriations subcommittee for the State Department and foreign operations, and Mr. Meeks is a member of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia.

Ms. Reding reminded the delegation of U.S. promises to allow Europeans living outside the U.S. to file complaints in American courts over any invasion of privacy by the NSA or any other U.S. spy agency.

"I have also made it clear that Europe expects to see necessary legislative change in the U.S. sooner rather than later," she said.

Ms. Reding noted that the congressional visit follows a trip EU legislators took to Washington to complain about the NSA spying program that even eavesdropped on phone calls by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and recalled comments by Mr. Murphy.

"As Sen. Murphy has said himself, 'Words are not enough,'" she said. "I, therefore, hope to see words turn into action."

TURKEY IN SPOTLIGHT

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright criticized Turkey's lack of press freedom and its growing closeness to China, as she addressed a major foreign policy conference in Istanbul.

"It's no secret the U.S. is deeply concerned about press freedoms in Turkey and that a country we view as a vital NATO ally has even considered purchasing missile defenses from China," Mrs. Albright, who served in the Clinton administration, told the Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit last week.

Turkey is negotiating the purchase of a missile-defense system from a Chinese company under U.S. sanctions for selling weapons to Iran.

Meanwhile, Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party is planning to hold a Sunday evening reception to inaugurate an office in Washington. Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu is expected to attend.

Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at jmorrison@washingtontimes.com or @EmbassyRow.

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