The Harper Administration’s Securitization of Iran

Title: The Harper Administration’s Securitization of Iran
Authors: Masaeli, Soha
Date: 2016-10-14
Abstract: Despite Iran’s hostile relations with the West since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Canada had often played the role of an honest broker and maintained relations with Iran, contrary to the US. Although the Canadian Government has always viewed the Islamic Regime as hostile, it was interested in pursuing diplomacy and other means to pressure Iran in areas such as human rights violations. This approach to dealing with Iran was altered and moved towards securitization after 2006, with the election of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. This paper will examine the securitization theory and apply it to the Harper administration’s approach to Iran, leading up to the final securitized moment of the closure of the Canadian embassy in Tehran and the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Ottawa in 2012. This paper will then analyze the reasons that the Canadian Government provided for pursuing this decision. Ultimately, the research will present the argument that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s identification of Iran as the biggest threat to global peace and security was an exaggeration of the real level of threat that Iran actually posed. This inflated level of threat may have had many causes, but chief among them was the Prime Minister’s personal convictions and relations with Israel and his foreign affairs policy approach which discouraged him from communicating with states or entities that were categorized as bad. Although this decision did not have any devastating effects on Canada, given that relations with Iran were always limited, it also did not achieve any desirable outcomes. In addition, various components of this securitizing move, such as listing Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, have rendered any decision by future governments to reinstall relations with Iran difficult.
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers
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