Canada will not issue ultimatum for Iran

By Campbell Clark
New York — The Globe and Mail
September 28 2012

Canada will not publicly set “red lines” that Iran must not cross if it wants to avoid a war over its nuclear program, rebuffing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to back him on issuing an ultimatum.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper met face to face with Mr. Netanyahu in New York on Friday morning, but it was a rare occasion when Mr. Harper did not offer the political support that his Israeli political ally wanted.

Mr. Harper avoided setting a “red line” of his own – and a senior Harper government official said Canada will not openly back a specific trigger for war to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.

“Canada will not be publicly setting red lines. That is for others to do,” the official said. “We will continue to work with our allies to find a peaceful resolution on Iran.”

Mr. Netanyahu has been in a public dispute with U.S. President Barack Obama over where to draw the line for Iran. Mr. Obama has said he won’t let Iran obtain nuclear weapons, but Mr. Netanyahu insists Iran must know it will be attacked if it enriches enough uranium to make a bomb.

Mr. Harper was clearly not willing to get in the middle of Israel’s disagreement with the United States, Canada’s most important ally, on a major international-security issue.

On Thursday, Mr. Netanyahu had brought a cartoon-like drawing of a bomb to the United Nations to make his point, drawing a red line across it. At a brief photo op at the outset of their meeting, Mr. Netanyahu greeted Mr. Harper by voicing a similar message.

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