Canada exits UN meeting in protest after Iran levels 'genocide' barb on Israel

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

OTTAWA - Canada and key allies stormed out of a meeting of the United Nations nuclear agency today to protest the Iranian representative referring to an unspecified Israeli "genocide."

Envoys from the United States, Australia and New Zealand joined John Barrett, Canada's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, in unceremoniously exiting the room.

Barrett was chairing a meeting of the 35-nation IAEA board at its Vienna headquarters when Iran's representative, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, accused Israel of genocide.

A senior Canadian official said the remark was a "red line" that sparked the exit.

The incident happened as Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is convening a meeting in Ottawa of ambassadors from the so-called "P5-plus-one" club of countries — the U.S., Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The Canadian Press has learned that Baird urged the diplomats to press Iran to allow access to international observers to verify its nuclear program, or face tougher international sanctions.