The issue of western co-operation with Iran has been a hot topic in international circles over the past week following reports that Iranian leader Ayatollah Khameini has suggested a united front against radical jihadists in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.
U.S. President Barack Obama will unveil a strategy Wednesday for tackling the jihadists, who have declared the creation of a de facto country called the Islamic State, and some have been encouraging him to accept Iran’s offer.
Iran has a sizeable influence in both Iraq and Syria, and sees the Sunni jihadists as a threat. Iran’s population is predominantly Shia Muslim, which the Islamic State fighters see as heretical.
But Baird told a parliamentary committee Tuesday that Canada vehemently rejects any suggestion of working with Iran.
“Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world,” Baird said. “Just because it’s not their brand of terrorism doesn’t (absolve) them. They have had a very destabilizing influence in just about every single country in that region.”
The Conservative government has been among the world’s most vocal critics of the Iranian government. It severed all diplomatic ties between Canada and Iran in September 2012, and has consistently called it out for its nuclear program, as well as its poor human rights record and support for terrorist groups.