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Daily News Analysis

Trudeau-Zarif handshake: Now the sky will definitely fall, say some Canadian networks!

Crescent International

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Iran's Foreign Minister Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif in Munich on February 14. The two shook hands and discussed the investigation into the Ukrainian airline tragedy that was mistakenly shot down by Iran's aerospace division in the early hours of January 8 a few hours after Iran had fired retaliatory missiles at two US bases in Iraq. Iran had struck the US bases in retaliation for the criminal assassination of its top commander, General Qassem Suleimani who was on a peace mission to Baghdad at the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Some segments of the Canadian media have gone into a frenzy after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shook hands with Iran’s Foreign Minister Dr Javad Zarif on February 14 on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.

Trudeau dropped by at a meeting the Canadian Foreign Minister Francois Phillipe-Champagne was holding with his Iranian counterpart relating to the Ukrainian plane tragedy.

The Global News hit the roof when it flashed pictures of Trudeau’s handshake with Dr Zarif. How dare he shake hands with Tehran’s top diplomat when Iran had shot down a passenger plane?

The TV network alleged Trudeau was “criticized for meeting Dr Zarif” but looking closer into the stories, the network simply took statements from Iran critics. There was not a single person quoted who could offer an alternative perspective.

CTV News was equally scathing in its criticism of Trudeau who defended his decision at a press conference on February 15 that he had vowed to the families to do his utmost to bring closure to their tragedy.

“I made a promise to families in Canada to do everything I could to make sure that they get answers, that we have a full and complete investigation, that we understand exactly what happened,” he said.

“I went by to impress upon the foreign minister of Iran how important it is that we work together,” Trudeau said during his February 15 press conference.

The Toronto-based CTV News network started its story with the line: “It’s been just over a month since Iran shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane killing all 176 people on board, including 57 Canadians.”

Ignored it this hysterical pronouncement was the fact that the plane was brought down accidentally; that Iran acknowledged its mistake and has vowed to not only fully investigate but to offer compensation to the victims’ families.

While Canada and Iran do not have diplomatic relations—they were severed by former prime minister Stephen Harper in September 2012 without giving a reason—the two foreign ministers were meeting to discuss the modalities of a joint investigation arising out of the accidental downing of the Ukrainian airliner on January 8.

Tehran has allowed Canadian officials to be part of the investigation into the plane tragedy.

Iran does not recognize dual nationality and it said 127 passengers were Iranian citizens. The rest belonged to other nationalities including Ukrainian, British, German and Afghan.

Ottawa is keen to have the remains of victims returned to loved ones in Canada.

In Iran, the process of identifying the bodies is continuing. It is a slow process although some Iranian victims have already been buried in Iran.

The plane was shot down after being mistaken for an incoming US missile in the aftermath of Iran’s retaliatory strike on two US military bases in Iraq just a couple of hours earlier.

Iran’s forces were on full alert and local commanders were given authority to take immediate action in case of any imminent threat.

If the armchair revolutionaries in the TV newsrooms have a better solution to how this tragedy could be resolved, let them say so. Iran is under no obligation to allow any country with which it has no diplomatic relations, access to its investigation.

That it has done so and has already acknowledged its responsibility should be applauded.

The hatemongers must refrain from spewing venom. That would only complicate an already tragic situation.

If Iran says it would not allow Canadian officials to join the investigation, what would these networks suggest: Bomb Iran?

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