Canada rebukes Iran, cancels invitation

OTTAWA, June 26 (UPI) -- The Canadian government chilled relations with Iran over its appointment of an official known as the "butcher of the press," diplomatic sources said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs Thursday rescinded an invitation to Iranian diplomats in Ottawa to a party celebrating Canada Day next Wednesday, the Canwest News Service reported.


There have been two previous diplomatic encounters with Iranian officials regarding the violence and management of federal elections in Iran. The latest involves Tehran's appointment of Saaed Mortaza to interrogate reformists who were arrested before and after the election, the report said.

He earned the nickname "butcher of the press" for closing down more than 100 newspapers and his role in the 2003 death of an Iranian-Canadian photographer.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Canada was concerned that "Mr. Mortazavi has clearly demonstrated his disregard for human rights and fundamental freedoms," Canwest reported.

"While we will not get involved in internal matters, Canada will continue to call for the release of all political prisoners and journalists ... who have been unjustly detained following the Iranian presidential elections," Cannon said.

Latest Headlines