‘Important that we work together’: Trudeau defends handshake with Iranian foreign minister months after plane crash
|National Post 14 Feb 2020 at 18:20|
“Not a good look to see PM Trudeau with smiling FM Zarif of Iran after Canadians killed at the hands of Iranian incompetence and malice on Ukrainian plane — not to mention the innocent Iranian protesters killed,” tweeted Bessma Momani, senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation and an expert on Canadian relations with Iran.
Trudeau joined the meeting scheduled between his foreign minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne, and Zarif on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday. Canada has been pushing Iran to allow a full and transparent investigation into how two Iranian missiles were fired at a civilian airplane causing it to crash moments after take-off from the Tehran airport on Jan. 8. All 176 people aboard, including 57 Canadians, were killed.
“I made a promise to families in Canada to do everything I could to make sure that they get answers, that we have a full and complete investigation, that we understand exactly what happened,” Trudeau told reporters in Munich.
“I went by to impress upon the foreign minister of Iran how important it is that we work together.”
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist with Voice of America’s Persian service, said on Twitter that the families of the victims were “furious” after seeing the photo.
Conservative MP Peter Kent accused the prime minister in a tweet of “shaking hands with Iran’s chief propagandist and cheerleader for (the) regime’s terrorist agenda.”
Kaveh Shahrooz, senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, tweeted that it was a handshake too far.
“Look, I get that leaders sometimes have to shake hands with unsavoury people,” he tweeted. “But Iran just killed (57) Canadians. Maybe the PM could’ve avoided this particular photo op. Maybe a UNSC seat isn’t worth a firesale of every last thing Canadians hold dear.”
Champagne said he believes the fact Iran has not yet analysed the contents of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders in more than a month proves they can’t do it.
He said he thinks Friday’s meeting moved the needle on progress to get Iran to ship the recorders to France, which has the necessary equipment to do the work.
“The discussions we had today was going further,” he said. “We were not talking about the why, we were talking about the how.”
Blatchford died this morning in a Toronto hospital, where a circle of close friends and family kept a bedside vigil
She was instinctively kind, had an alert and well-exercised radar for the plight of the underdog, the little guy, the person or group never near the head tables of life
All of Toronto knew this was her story, but for just one day, it was mine
Christie Blatchford dead at 68: Here, we take a look back at some of her memorable, most recent contributions at the Post