The Canadian government recently closed the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, leaving over 3,000 students without support. Students were not notified about the closure, which left them surprised and stranded. Iranian students are now left without funding, translators, documents and/or counselling services. The Iranian students are caught in the crossfire of politics. This shocking decision to close the embassies in Canada and Iran was due to diplomatic events referred to as ‘terrorism’ tasks.
Iranian diplomats were asked to leave as a preventative measure to keep Canada immune from terrorism. All relations between Canada and Iran have been suspended. In a National Post article, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, “The determination shown by Canada is of great importance in order for the Iranians to understand that they cannot go on with their race towards nuclear arms. This practical step must set an example of international morality and responsibility to the international community.”
Iran claims that Canada took ‘hostile actions’ to close the embassy. They feel that Canada did not try to resolve the problem politically or create a solution with Iran in which Iran would not be considered a significant threat to world peace. According to the National Post, Tehran’s foreign ministry says that Canada cutting political relations is “unprofessional, unconventional, and unjustifiable.”
Laurier Brantford does not have any Iranian students that have to deal with this problem, however, other students across Canada are waiting for documents, school funding, or passports and are unsure of how, or if they will ever be able to receive them.
The closing of the embassy just makes life harder on the Iranian students here in Canada. It is hard enough adjusting to a new country, let alone adjusting without any support from back home. In the United States, Iranian business is communicated through Pakistan’s embassy. Iranians and Canadians have not yet stated where students can expect to get consular services. Potentially, Iran will have to have a third country to act as a middle-man between it and Canada in order to look after the foreign affairs here at home.
For some students, the closing of the embassy has made travelling and renewing passports the most difficult as they now will have nowhere to renew their Iranian passports. For others on student Visas, when their Visa expires, they will be in Canada illegally. The CBC mentions that such a case is quite unfortunate as it is no fault of the students.