Seven steps for reopening an embassy in Tehran

Good piece by Campbell Clark on the sequence and steps involved in re-opening an Embassy (I was part of the team that did so in 1988 and his list brings back memories):

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion has publicly confirmed Canada’s desire to reopen the Canadian embassy in Tehran that’s been shuttered since the Conservative government suddenly cut ties on Sept. 7, 2012. It marks a symbolic end to diplomatic hissing and spitting. Now what?

There’s still a locked Iranian embassy in downtown Ottawa, behind eight-foot bars, with a faded Iranian flag outside – and a beige-brick and stained-glass ambassador’s mansion sitting empty in upscale Rockcliffe Park. But Canada lost the lease on its old four-storey concrete embassy building on Shahid Sarafraz Street in Tehran, so it will need a new home for an embassy where secure communications equipment and other special features can be housed.

But reopening an embassy is never as simple as calling movers. There’s not just a diplomatic dance, and political sensitivities to watch at home, but protocol and practical steps. Canada’s last full ambassador to Iran, John Mundy, thinks it will be many months before the two countries exchange diplomats, and late 2017 before they accredit ambassadors. If all goes well. “We’re starting almost from zero,” he said.

So how do you open an embassy in Tehran? A spokesman for the Global Affairs department said there’s “no standard approach.” But experts say there are some likely steps.

Source: Seven steps for reopening an embassy in Tehran – The Globe and Mail

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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