One theory of why Canada now decided to close its Embassy down in Tehran is that it wants its diplomats out of the country in the event of an Israeli military strike, which may be getting closer (although Israeli media has been reporting that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is now in favur of holding off.)

I have no way of knowing if the possibility of a military strike is a factor in Canada’s decision, but it is interesting to note that Canada’s decision comes shortly after Israeli and American media reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu had a row with U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, expressing his frusteration at what he sees as President Obama’s dropping the ball and not defining clearly enough what the “red lines” are, such if Iran breaches them the United States would be willing to respond militarily.

It it possible that the Harper government, on seeing that Netanyahu lost it with Shapiro has made the assessment, (or has inside knowledge) that an Israeli strike is pending ? For anyone who wants to get an inside view of the undiplomatic and “explosive” tones that were heard between Netanyahu and Dan shapiro, read in full Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece about what Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said occured at the meeting.

In fact, arguably the US in essence has just hinted prety strongly to Israel that it is on its own for a military strike. As Reported in Bloomberg News yesterday, Hillary Clinton said that the U.S. is “not setting deadlines” for Iran and still considers negotiations as “by far the best approach” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.Asked if the Obama administration will lay out sharper “red lines” for Iran or state explicitly the consequences of failing to negotiate a deal with world powers by a certain date, Clinton said, “We’re not setting deadlines.”

Clinton’s statement could hardly be very re-assuring to the Israelis-but the Iranians are probably pleased and calmed by it.(they can keep speeding up thier progress to gettig the bomb).

In terms of Canada’s actions in closing its embassy, is it possible that after feeling that Iran has come to understand that the US isn’t willing to attack, the Harper government wants the Iranians to think that Israel will be ready to attack–in the hopes that Iran will think twice before continuing down its perilous path ?

Others say the impending action Canada foresees occurring isn’t an Israeli military strike, but a tightening of Canadian sanctions against the Islamic Republic – including listing its infamous Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity.

The Revolutionary Guard is an elite military force that could be involved in repressing critics in-side Iran and supporting terrorism abroad.

In an article entitled Cutting Ties with Tehran Portends Tougher Action, Lee Berthiaume in the Ottawa Citizen quotes Shimon Fogel, head of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, who said his organization has been pushing for Canada to list the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist entity for some time.

“The concern the Canadians had in that regard is a possible come-back or reprisals on diplomats posted there,” Fogel told the Ottawa Citizen.

“If I were to read anything in-to (the Canadian Embassy closing), I think it would be that Canada is preparing to take action against the IRGC. And in anticipation of that, they want all Canadian personnel out of the region so that they won’t suffer any reprisals,” Fogel added.

Another theory is that Canada’s action is a result of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran last week, which Iran considered to be successful, which involved most countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America.[ Note that President Morsi of Egypt went to the summit, the first Egyptian visit since the fall of the Shah in 1979, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas went also, showing that even though the US, Canada, and other Western countries have funded the Palestinian Authority Abbas does not see himself as needing to be loyal or bound to the them.]

Arguably, the NAM summit showed Iran is not as isolated as the West would hope, and thus Canada’s actons, as an expert told CBC News, are designed to send ” symbolic message to Iran after the NAM meeting that they should not conclude that their isolation is over or that they can escape western pressure.”

This and other theories are outlined in the article on the website of CBC News Why Canada Severed Relations with Iran, also worth a read.

Canada’stiming could also be related to Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which allows victims of terrorism to sue a country that Canada lists as a state sponsor of terrorism. On Friday, Foreign Minister Baird said he was adding Iran to that list, along with Syria.

Another very thoughtful piece that is definately worth reading is that by former Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler in the Jerusalem Post, Canada’s Move to Cut Ties with Iran – which analyses Canada’s decision and outlines further action that ought to be taken in the form of intenational judicial remedies.

“These remedies include: Initiating an inter-state complaint against Iran – which is a state party to the Genocide Convention – before the International Court of Justice, for its standing violation of the convention; referring this genocidal incitement to the UN Security Council for accountability and sanction; calling upon the UN secretary-general to refer the situation to the Security Council as one that threatens international peace and security, pursuant to Article 99 of the UN Charter; and requesting that the Security Council itself refer the matter to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, who can indict Iranian leaders as it has other’s,” Cotler writes..

Prime Minister Netanyahu has told CBC News that Israel did not know Canada was about to break off ties with Iran, nor did the Jewish state share any special intelligence with Ottawa- see Israeli PM Praises Canada for Cutting Ties with Iran.

Nonetheless, I wonder if that’s the full story. Afterall, what would Netanyahu say? That he knew.