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Liberal Party Leader of Canada Justin Trudeau
photo by Rhonda Spivak

Jason Kenney

Trudeau Tells WJR He’s “Cautiously Optimistic” About Iran Deal While Kenney Says Harper Govt's View is “One of Pessimism More Than Optimism

By Rhonda Spivak, Sept 21, 2015

When Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was in Winnipeg in  August to meet with the ethnic press, the Winnipeg Jewish Review asked Trudeau about his position on the Iran deal.In  response, Trudeau said “…There is reason to be cautiously optimistic about this deal. ..I have always been hopeful that the P5 + 1 process would result in a deal,  and I think this deal is certainly better than no deal at all, and  I am cautiously optimistic that as Iran abides by the  terms of its deal we are going to get  more distance from a nuclear Iran which is excellent.”


When Minister of Defense Jason Kenney spoke at Chabad-Lubavich earlier this month, the WJR asked him if he, like Trudeau, was cautiously optimistic about the nuclear deal with Iran.


Kenney responded that he had a far more pessimistic view of the deal: “Of course we hope that if this agreement is ratified and goes forward that it will curtail or at least delay Iranian nuclear weapons program but, I would say that our view is one of pessimism more than optimism based on Iran’s actions and the nature of the deal.”


Kenney said "I don’t find any grounds for optimism in the conduct of the  Islamic Repubic of Iran or its leadership, which continues to be explicitly committed to the destruction of the Jewish homeland, which continues to execute men who are gay, which continues to harass women, which continues to beat torture and kill  liberal  dissidents, which should be judged by its actions, not by its words.”



Regarding sanctions, Trudeau noted that “As Obama has said the deal is based not on trust but on verifications. In order for those sanctions to be lowered by the international community Iran has to make a number of very clear  targets around   access to its nuclear facilities and   around fulfilling its obligations and that is certainly something we are in line with the international community on.A nuclear armed Iran is a threat not just to the region and not just to Israel but to entire world, and that’s why its  important that we ensure that” 


The Winnipeg Jewish Review noted that in Israel there is  great concern about the deal  essentially being a capitulation to Iran. Israelis and others in the West fear that the deal with Iran will strengthen Iran’s terrorist activities in the region, and puts a lot of  money in Iran’s hands to pursue these activities.


Trudeau responded, “I understand that concern, but I think the concern of not having a deal where the alternative seems to be, that the only other way would be heavy handed military intervention, I am going to side with international community that feels that this is the step in the right direction. I very much understand Israel’s concerns but I certainly am looking forward to the important milestones around verification that will demonstrate that this deal is in the best interests of the international community.” 


In his response to the WJR, Kenney read out the statement of Foreign Affairs  Minister of Affairs Rob Nicholson, issued on July 14, shortly after the deal was announced:

 “We appreciate the efforts of the P5+1 to reach an agreement. At the same time, we will continue to judge Iran by its actions not its words. To this end, Canada will continue to support the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor Iran’s compliance with its commitments.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.