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Iran Criticizes Canada amid Envoy Dispute


Iran's Foreign Ministry criticized Canada Tuesday for not "acting in line" with the usual manner of exchanging ambassadors.

The criticism came one day after Iran expelled the Canadian ambassador to Tehran, following Ottawa's refusal to accept Iran's proposed envoys to Canada.

Iran's official IRNA news agency quotes Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini as saying Iran is surpised by Canada's actions and that both nations should avoid what he called "unilateral actions."

Canada's foreign affairs minister, Maxime Bernier, earlier said the decision to oust the ambassador was entirely unjustifiable.

Bernier said Canada and Iran had tried to agree on an exchange of ambassadors, but Ottawa has been unable to accept the candidates submitted by Tehran.

Relations between Canada and Iran have been strained since 2003 when Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi died of injuries she received in Iranian custody after she was arrested for taking pictures of protesters at an Iranian prison.

Bernier said both countries will continue to maintain embassies in their respective capitals. He said Canada's diplomatic business in Tehran will now be handled by the embassy's charge d'affairs.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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